North Korea detonated powerful nuclear equipment on Sunday, a hydrogen bomb that could be attached to a missile allegedly capable of reaching the mainland United States, further raising tensions between the two countries.

President Donald Trump condemned the Kim Jong Un-ruled country and said North Korea is “very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”

Kim Jong-un, inspecting a missile-ready hydrogen bomb. Image Credit Korea Central News Agency
Kim Jong-un, inspecting a missile-ready hydrogen bomb. Image Credit Korea Central News Agency

South Korea, Japan, and even China –North Korea’s main trade ally—also condemned the actions. Sunday’s test marks the sixth time the Asian country performs a nuclear test. Pyongyang’s actions are widely condemned around the world, and analysts fear tensions could continue running high and could lead to a military intervention.

North Korea is widely condemned for engaging in nuclear tests

Experts say even though North Korea often exaggerates its military power, the country is improving its nuclear arsenal. In fact, Sunday’s device was stronger than the last and analysts say it was almost seven times the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in World War II.

President Trump sent out a series of tweets on the nuclear test and seized the occasion to criticize China’s inaction to control its neighbor country. However, China said Sunday it opposes and strongly condemns the nuclear test.

“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test… North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success,” tweeted Trump.

The U.S. president also mentioned South Korea, one of the U.S.’s strongest allies in the region, and noted that the country’s actions and their “talk of appeasement with North Korea” won’t work because Kim Jong Un’s regime “only understand one thing.”

The Washington Post reached Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Vipin Narang, an expert on nuclear strategy and proliferation, which described the newest nuclear device as a “city buster.” According to Narang, even if North Korea has “relatively inaccurate intercontinental ballistic missile technology,” they could still destroy the better part of a city with such device.

Nuclear bomb detonated on Sunday had seven times the strength of Hiroshima H-bomb

The bomb test took place at noon local time at North Korea’s Punggye-ri testing site. The U.S. Geological Survey said after the detonation a 6.3-magnitude earthquake was recorded on the site, followed eight minutes later by a 4.1-magnitude earthquake, which apparently was caused by a collapsing tunnel at the site.

Japan sent up sniffer planes to the site to try to measure radiation levels shortly after the explosion. The communist country’s state media said the test was performed to determine “the accuracy and credibility” of its H-bomb, which will eventually be placed as the payload of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korea tested its ICBM in July, and a second test later that month showed the missile could theoretically reach Chicago or Denver. After those tests, Trump warned the country should stop, or it would be met by “fire and fury,” at which Pyongyang responded by threatening to launch a missile to the U.S. territory of Guam.

The Hwasong-14 missile during its test launch. Image Credit: KCNA / Reuters
The Hwasong-14 ICBM during its test launch on July. Image Credit: KCNA / Reuters

North Korea’s state media, KCNA, broadcasted pictures of the country’s supreme leader signing the order to detonate. Earlier, the state-run news agency had released photos of Kim inspecting what it appeared to be a hydrogen bomb, possibly the same device that was detonated moments later.

Experts believe some of the pictures could be exaggerated, as they doubt the country has successfully produced a “two-stage thermonuclear weapon.” David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, said the pictures were likely propaganda.

Regardless of that, North Korea is making progress. In fact, South Korean officials and experts estimate the yield (the amount of energy released by the bomb) of Sunday’s device was 100 kilotons. That is about seven times as strong as the U.S. atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

China pledges to work towards denuclearization and peace of the peninsula

The nuclear test alarmed countries across the region. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he would never allow the North to continue advancing its nuclear and missile tests. South Korean officials and military leaders warned the North that, along with the American allies, they are “fully equipped” to punish the country.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed he wouldn’t tolerate the nuclear test. Abe reassured his alliance with the United States in a call with Trump hours before the test, and said both countries agreed to “increase pressure on North Korea.”

The international community has often called for China, the North’s strongest ally, to impose sanctions on the country. China has rejected the North’s frequent ballistic missile launches, but experts say the country won’t meddle unless there is another nuclear test. China issued an official statement opposing Kim’s nuclear actions.

“The Chinese government resolutely opposes and strongly condemns this,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in the statement. “China will work together with the international community to comprehensively and completely implement the relevant resolutions of the Security Council of the UN, unswervingly push forward the denuclearization of the peninsula, and unswervingly maintain the peace and stability of the peninsula.”

Source: The Washington Post