North Korean Missile Reportedly Explodes Soon After Liftoff North Korea failed in attempt to launch a midrange Musudan missile, U.S. and South Korea Say Associated Press WSJ, Oct. 16, 2016 WASHINGTON—South Korea and the U.S. said Sunday that the latest missile launch by North Korea ended in failure after the projectile reportedly exploded soon after liftoff.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the military believed the North unsuccessfully attempted to fire a midrange Musudan missile. It said the failed launch occurred near an airport in North Pyongan province.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said that the missile was believed to have exploded soon after liftoff. Yonhap cited no source for this information.
North Korea has claimed technical breakthroughs in its goal of developing a long-range nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental U.S. However, South Korean defense officials have said the North doesn’t yet have such a weapon.
The failed launch was the latest in a series of moves by North Korea apparently aimed at displaying a show of force. As recently as last month, it fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast, timed to get the attention of world leaders including President Barack Obamawho were visiting the region for a series of summits. The U.N. Security Council subsequently condemned those North Korean launches and threatened “further significant measures” if it refused to stop its nuclear and missile tests.
North Korea also conducted its fifth nuclear test last month and in all has launched more than 20 ballistic missiles this year, part of its program aimed at improving the delivery system for nuclear weapons. Earlier this year, North Korea successfully launched a Musudan missile in June after several failed attempts…….. http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-detects-failed-north-korean-missile-launch-1476572239
US Pentagon detects a failed North Korean nuclear test launch, news.com.au 16 Oct 16 THE US military has detected a failed North Korean test launch of an intermediate ballistic missile near the northwestern city of Kusong, the Pentagon says.
“We strongly condemn this and North Korea’s other recent missile tests,” said US Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman.
“We intend to raise our concerns at the UN to bolster international resolve in holding the DPRK accountable for these actions.” Ross said the US commitment to the defence of its allies in the region, including South Korea and Japan, was “iron-clad” in the face of such North Korean actions.
The missile to be launched by North Korea was a Musadan intermediate-range ballistic missile. In August, North Korea said it would turn the US and South Korea into a ‘heap of ash’ if provoked………
The failed nuclear test launch followed the fifth and biggest launch of its kind in September by one of world’s most secretive societies, governed by communist dictator Kim Jong-un.
There had been speculation that Jong-un could mark the 10 October anniversary of the founding of its Workers’ party with a sixth detonation. http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/us-pentagon-detects-a-failed-north-korean-nuclear-test-launch/news-story/849a066713be509ffd775b0cc0462aff
US think tank warns North Korea could develop up to 100 nuclear weapons by 2020 http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/us-think-tank-warns-north-korea-could-develop-100-nuclear-weapons-by-2020-1585557 Rand Corporation says Pyongyang is testing nuclear missiles that can threaten targets across the Pacific Ocean. By Ananya Roy October 10, 2016 A US-based think tank has estimated that given the pace of North Korea’s nuclear programme, Pyongyang could have enough fissile material to develop up to 100 nuclear weapons by 2020. The organisation has warned ahead of the US presidential elections that the new administration would face major challenges from the East Asian country, highlighting the need to review its policy on Pyongyang.
In its latest report, Rand Corporation – an American nonprofit global policy think tank – said that Japan and South Korea are “losing faith in the US nuclear umbrella”. The think tank warned that it was upset as Washington failed to constrain North Korea’s nuclear programme, which has led to the two US allies to call for “independent nuclear arsenals”. Rand Corporation noted that the new administration that takes charge in Washington following the 8 November election would have to focus on tackling the growing security threats in the Korean peninsula.
“During the next four to six years, Pyongyang will possess a nuclear force of sufficient size, diversity, reliability, and survivability to invalidate our regional military posture and war plans by holding at risk key bases and amplifying the risk to allies.
“The most recent open-source estimates suggest North Korea may already have enough fissile material to build between 13 and 21 nuclear weapons; by 2020, it could possess enough for 50 to 100. The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea] can already deliver nuclear weapons by aircraft or ship and perhaps by theater ballistic missiles; it is now testing nuclear-capable missiles that could threaten targets across the Pacific Ocean, including the continental United States. “Current estimates suggest a number of these nuclear-tipped missiles—long-range, road-mobile, and submarine-launched—could be operational between 2020 and 2025,” the report warned.
It further stated: “A DPRK nuclear force approaching 100 weapons with multiple delivery means likely poses an unacceptable threat to US and South Korea [or the Republic of Korea, ROK] security, as well as a serious proliferation threat.”
The foreign policy think tank stressed that the incoming US administration will have to face “critical policy questions” involving what measures need to be taken to stop North Korea’s Kim Jong-un from pursuing their nuclear programme; what should the US do if provocation continues and what should be done if South Korea initiates a counterforce attack or begins developing its own nuclear force.
Nuclear conflict with North Korea: a spiral of repeated failure, DW, 9 Oct 16
North Korea carries out a nuclear test; the UN imposes sanctions; North Korea repeats its actions. This cycle has been repeated for 10 years now and has so far proved impossible to break. North Korea has carried out five nuclear tests in the past 10 years. Five times, the UN Security Council has imposed or tightened sanctions. For years now the West has issued similar words of condemnation after each new test. And time and again North Korea has demonstrated that the international community still has not found any way of resolving this nuclear confrontation in the long term. Meanwhile, the cycle of action and reaction continues.
Monday, 9 October 2006
Exactly ten years ago, then dictator Kim Jong Il shocked the world with the first North Korean nuclear test. It was the middle of the night in Europe when the earth shook in the northeast of the country at 10:36 local time. The South Korean secret service estimated that the bomb had an explosive force of 0.55 kilotons. This was considerably smaller than the first atomic bomb ever used in conflict, dropped on Hiroshima in Japan by the United States: That had an explosive force of around 12.5 kilotons. But the message is clear – and the rest of the world is outraged.
US President George W. Bush on 9 October 2006:
“The United States condemns this provocative act. Once again North Korea has defied the will of the international community, and the international community will respond.”
It was the start of a spiral that has continued ever since, with no resolution in sight.
Five days later, the 15 members of the UN Security Council vote unanimously to impose sanctions against North Korea.
UN Resolution 1718, passed on 14 October 2006 The resolution forbids North Korea from carrying out any further nuclear tests or firing any ballistic missiles. It calls upon the country to suspend its nuclear program and return to the negotiation table. Among other things, Resolution 1718 freezes the assets of people involved in the North Korean nuclear program and imposes travel bans on them. It also imposes a trade embargo covering items such as tanks, combat vehicles, large war materials, fighter planes, helicopters and battleships. And, of course, anything connected to the further development of North Korea’s nuclear program………
Friday, 9 September 2016
Just nine months after the fourth nuclear test, North Korea carries out a fifth – and last, to date – on its Punggye-ri test site. It is also the strongest. Foreign experts estimate that it had an explosive force of around 10 kilotons.
US President Barack Obama, 9 September 2016:
“To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state. […] Today’s nuclear test, a flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, makes clear North Korea’s disregard for international norms and standards for behavior and demonstrates it has no interest in being a responsible member of the international community.”
The UN Security Council has announced that further sanctions will be imposed. http://www.dw.com/en/nuclear-conflict-with-north-korea-a-spiral-of-repeated-failure/a-35999751
Pope concerned over North Korea’s nuclear testing, Crux, Inés San Martín
September 27, 2016 VATICAN CORRESPONDENT The United States has flown nuclear-capable supersonic bombers over ally South Korea in a show of force meant to cow North Korea after its fifth nuclear test and also to settle rattled nerves in the South.
“The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there,” says Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Vatican Undersecretary for Relations with States. ROME-Watching the continuing tension on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea carrying out nuclear tests, a Vatican’s representative has expressed Pope Francis’s concerns to Vienna’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Tuesday that he could confirm that, considering the “delicate situation on the Korean Peninsula,” the Vatican’s Undersecretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, had reiterated in Vienna “the concern of the Holy Father and the Holy See about the continuing tensions in the area on account of the nuclear tests carried out by North Korea.”
Last Tuesday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) had reported that North Korea had successfully conducted a ground test of a new type of high-powered rocket engine.
Camillieri was speaking as the Vatican representative in the 60th General Assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEG), taking place in Vienna Sept. 26-30.
“We view the situation in the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] with grave concern,” Camillieri said in his remarks. “The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there.”
The Vatican representative also said the Church welcomes the IAEA’s participation in the “verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” adding that the Holy See sees this agreement positively…….. Talking about disarmament, he again quoted Francis, but this time from the pontiff’s message to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2014, when the Argentine pope said that spending on these weapons squanders a country’s wealth.
“To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price,” the pope had said in the message Camillieri quoted on Tuesday. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2016/09/27/pope-concerned-north-koreas-nuclear-testing/
Will North Korea’s Nuclear Test Tempt South Korea and Japan to Go Nuclear?The latest test may strengthen calls South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. The Diplomat, By Pang Zhongying September 27, 2016 North Korea’s latest nuclear test strengthened the sections of public opinion that approve of obtaining nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan. The test, then, could bring about a chain reaction and accelerate the pace of Japanese and South Korean efforts to possess nuclear weapons. Under these circumstances, China will face not only a threat from the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, but also the further deterioration of Northeast Asia’s strategic environment.
In my opinion, the biggest challenge posed to China by this North Korean nuclear test is that South Korea’s domestic support for nuclear weapons may increase. Since Kim Jong-un assumed leadership of North Korea — especially this year — public support for possessing nuclear weapons and turning South Korea into a nuclear state has reached a certain scale. South Korea has been protected by the U.S nuclear umbrella, but now more and more people in South Korea want to build up a domestic nuclear deterrent to balance against North Korea.
On July 1, President Park Geun-hye suddenly decided to deploy the U.S. THAAD system in South Korea. In the following two months, domestic voices advocating for possessing and/or developing nuclear weapons have been constantly coming from South Korea. These voices will get even louder after the latest nuclear test in North Korea. It is said that the tested nuclear warhead was miniaturized, but its blast is estimated to be very large. Readings of the seismic activity in North Korea indicate that the test was very successful. Therefore, South Korea is currently enveloped by the sense of a national security crisis and many now believe that it is not enough to only have United States’ nuclear protection. So North Korea’s nuclear test may further stimulate South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons or develop nuclear weapons, which is also a big challenge for the United States………http://thediplomat.com/2016/09/will-north-koreas-nuclear-test-tempt-south-korea-and-japan-to-go-nuclear/
North Korea tells UN ‘going nuclear’ is only option North Korea’s foreign minister has told the United Nations that “going nuclear” is his country’s only way to defend itself and vowed to further bolster its nuclear military forces. SBS News, AFP 24 SEP 2016
Speaking to the General Assembly, Ri Yong-ho said his country will “continue to take measures to strengthen its national nuclear armed forces in both quantity and quality.”
He spoke just two weeks after North Korea’s fifth and most powerful nuclear test provoked worldwide condemnation, prompting the UN Security Council to begin work on a new sanctions resolution.
“Going nuclear armed is the policy of our state,” Ri, who has been foreign minister since May, told the world gathering.
“As long as there exists a nuclear weapon state in hostile relations with the DPRK (North Korea), our national security and the peace on the Korean peninsula can be defended only with reliable nuclear deterrence,” he said……..http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/09/24/north-korea-tells-un-going-nuclear-only-option
South Korea, US to simulate attack on nuclear facility By Jungeun Kim, Paula Hancocks and Joshua Berlinger, CNN September 21, 2016
- The two countries will simulate attacks on nuclear facilities and sudden missile strikes
- The announcement comes after North Korea conducted a nuclear test this month
Seoul (CNN)South Korea and the United States will conduct a mock attack on a nuclear facility next month, an official with the South Korean Defense Department told CNN.
Though the official said the drills are not aimed particularly at North Korea, the announcement comes less than two weeks after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear warhead
— its second nuclear test this year and fifth one ever.
The US and South Korea will also simulate what to do in the event of a sudden missile attack……..
The simulation, dubbed joint exercise “Red Flag,” will take place in Alaska from October 3 until October 21……..The munitions
In its announcement, South Korea said the nuclear facility attack simulation will take place using a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition, a kit that converts bombs that normally just free-fall from planes into guided munitions…….
Another show of force
The US on Wednesday also announced that it conducted its second show of force operation in two weeks in South Korea to send North Korea a message.
It sent two B-1B bombers to fly alongside the Korean demilitarized zone, a source told CNN……
The US flew B-1 bombers over Seoul on September 13th in a show of force responding to the recent North Korean nuclear test.
As world protests, North Korea sees nuclear power status within reach BY JOHN POWER on SEPTEMBER 18, 2016 in ASIA TIMES NEWS
Denying North Korea nuclear status may be “as foolish an act as trying to eclipse the sun with a palm.” Since its first nuclear test in 2006, Pyongyang has detonated progressively more powerful devices, in 2009, 2013 and twice this year and also made major strides in developing its delivery systems. The more the U.S. isolates North Korea, the more are the chances of Pyongyang rising to a fully fledged nuclear power.Following North Korea’s fifth and most powerful nuclear test last week, U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated a stance that has undergirded American and much international policy for decades: Pyongyang would never be accepted as a member of the nuclear arms club.
Promising new sanctions against the already isolated country in response to its “unlawful and dangerous actions,” Obama was unequivocal that “the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state.”
It’s a vow, however, that appears increasingly hollow in light of Pyongyang’s impressive advancement of its nuclear ambitions, forcefully demonstrated by last Friday’s detonation, the second this year and fourth on Obama’s watch……..
Since its first nuclear test in 2006, Pyongyang has detonated progressively more powerful devices, in 2009, 2013 and twice this year, with its most recent weapon thought to have been more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. At the same time, it has made major strides in developing its delivery systems. Last month, it successfully launched a ballistic missile from a submarine.
Experts such as Siegfried Hecker now consider plausible the once fanciful idea that North Korea could soon be capable of striking the U.S. mainland with a nuclear warhead, possibly within a decade……..http://atimes.com/2016/09/as-world-protests-north-korea-sees-nuclear-power-status-within-reach/
Rooting Out the North Korean Nuclear Crisis: the Past and Present U.S. Role, CounterPunch, by CHRISTINE HONG – PAUL LIEM, 15 Sept 16, North Korea’s nuclear test of September 9, 2016, the fifth and largest measuring twice the force of previous blasts, prompted a predictable round of condemnations by the United States and its allies along with calls for China to step up its enforcement of sanctions on North Korea. Yet few “expert” analyses suggest that China will risk destabilizing North Korea or that further United Nations resolutions and international sanctions will succeed in deterring North Korea from pursuing its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
The Obama administration’s reliance on China to rein in North Korea is at odds with its efforts to contain China’s influence in Asia, a quixotic goal in itself. It reflects an unrealistic desire for China to be influential just enough to do the bidding of the United States but not powerful enough to act in its own interests.
North Korea is, after all, China’s strategic ally in the region, and it is in South Korea that the United States plans to deploy THAAD, a defense system with radar capable of tracking incoming missiles from China. It is simply not in China’s interest to risk losing an ally on its border only to have it replaced by a U.S.-backed state hosting missile-tracking systems and other military forces targeting it. And China knows it is not the target of North Korea’s nukes. If the United States cannot punt the problem of North Korea’s nuclear weapons to China it must deal with North Korea directly.
Indeed, in response to U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s recent condemnation of China’s “role” and “responsibility” in failing to restrain North Korea’s nuclear pursuits, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on the United States to take a long hard look at its own foreign policy:……….
Despite President Barack Obama’s efforts over his two terms in office to “pivot” or “rebalance” U.S. foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific and his repeated identification of the United States as a Pacific power, the memory of nuclear ruin in the region is shadowed by the history of the United States as a first-user of atomic weapons against civilian populations in Japan at the close of World War II and as a tester of devastating nuclear technology, including human radiation experiments, in the Marshall Islands during the Cold War. Moreover, it has not gone unnoticed that President Obama, despite his professed commitment to nuclear de-escalation, has refused to issue an “unequivocal no-first-use pledge.”
In Korea, the one place on the planet where nuclear conflagration is most likely to erupt, given the current state of affairs, President Obama can still end the threat of nuclear warfare. This would require what few in his administration appear to have entertained, namely, the elimination of the demand for North Korea to agree to irreversible denuclearization as a precondition for bilateral talks. This rigid goal makes it virtually impossible for the United States to respond positively to any overture from North Korea short of a fantastic offer by that country to surrender all its nuclear weapons. The premise that the denuclearization of North Korea is necessary to ensure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula needs to be shelved, and all possibilities for finding common ground upon which to negotiate the cessation of hostilities on the Korean peninsula should be explored…….
Let us also recall that North Korea offered to halt testing of its nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to put an end to the annual U.S.-South Korea war games. Combining live artillery drills and virtual exercises, these war games, as of this year, implemented OPLAN 5015, a new operational war plan that puts into motion a preemptive U.S. nuclear strike against North Korea and the “decapitation” of its leadership. Unsurprisingly, North Korea considers this updated operational plan to be a rehearsal for Libya-style regime change……..
President Obama should prioritize any and all possibilities for achieving a halt to North Korea’s nuclear programs by diplomacy, over the goal of achieving an illusory agreement for complete denuclearization. As an achievement, halting North Korea’s nuclear advances is far short of the peace treaty needed to bring an end to the Korean War and a lasting peace to Korea. It is far short of creating international conditions for the Korean people to achieve the peaceful reunification of their country. And it is a far cry from achieving nuclear disarmament on a global scale. Yet, as a redirection of U.S. policy towards engagement with North Korea, it would be the greatest achievement in U.S. Korea policy of the last fifteen years, and a concrete step towards achieving denuclearization in the region, and worldwide… (extensive references) http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/15/rooting-out-the-north-korean-nuclear-crisis-the-past-and-present-u-s-role/#_edn3
North Korea’s nuclear program is targeting U.S., Japanese lawmaker says, WP. 4 By Anna Fifield September 13
TOKYO — North Korea’s nuclear program is directed at the United States, a close adviser to Kim Jong Un said after last week’s atomic test, according to a Japanese lawmaker who just returned from Pyongyang.
The warning came as two U.S. military B-1 bombers flew over the southern half of the peninsula in a show of force against North Korea, and top military brass and diplomats alike warned Pyongyang the United States was prepared to take all steps to contain and punish the regime.
North Korea defied United Nations resolutions and international warnings by detonating its fifth and largest nuclear weapon Friday, declaring that it was a warhead that could be used to counter “the American threat.”
Antonio Inoki, a former professional wrestler who now serves in Japan’s parliament, returned Tuesday from a five-day visit to Pyongyang saying that Japan need not worry about the North’s nuclear program.
“This is not directed at Japan. The nuclear development is toward the United States,” Inoki quoted Ri Su Yong, an elder statesman of North Korean foreign affairs who is particularly close to Kim, as saying……..https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/north-koreas-nuclear-program-is-targeting-us-japanese-lawmaker-says/2016/09/13/73faa86a-f52e-4559-9923-7f8e8cf31011_story.html
S Korea draws up plan to destroy Pyongyang https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/32588140/s-korea-draws-up-plan-to-destroy-pyongyang/#page1 AAP on September 11, 2016,
South Korea has devised a plan to destroy North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, through intensive bombing if the communist regime shows signs of launching a nuclear attack.
“Every Pyongyang district, particularly where the North Korean leadership is possibly hidden, will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosive shells as soon as the North shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon. In other words, the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map,” reported South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing a military official.
The details of the operation came to light after the South Korean Defence Ministry unveiled the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) plan in front of the National Assembly in response to the latest nuclear test by North Korea.
The plan is to carry out pre-emptive strikes against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the country’s military leadership if any signs of an imminent use of nuclear weapons is detected or in case of a war, the official explained.
In such a scenario, South Korea will deploy its Hyunmoo 2A and Hyunmoo 2B ballistic missiles, with a range of between 300 and 500 kilometres as well as the Hyunmoo-3 cruise missiles with a range of 1000 kilometres.
In mid-August, Seoul announced its intention to significantly boost its arsenal of missiles to counter the growing military threat from North Korea.
Another source cited by Yonhap said Seoul recently set up a special unit in charge of targeting North Korea’s top military leadership and “launching retaliatory attacks on them.”
North Korea conducted its fifth and largest-ever nuclear test on Friday, claiming it had tested a nuclear warhead that can be fitted onto missiles.
US Will Not Allow North Korea To Have Deliverable Nuclear Weapon: Clinton, News 18.com September 11, 2016 Washington: The US will not allow North Korea to have deliverable nuclear weapons, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said on Sunday.
“I absolutely believe that it has to be made very clear we will not allow North Korea to have a deliverable nuclear weapon, and we will approach this from a number of perspectives,” Clinton said.
President Barack Obama had earlier said that the US will never accept Pyongyang as a “nuclear state”. Responding to a question, Clinton said she has had conversations in the past with the Chinese about North Korea…….
we have got to make it clear missile defense is going in as quickly and broadly as possible,” Clinton said.
“Our message to the North Koreans and everyone else listening, they will not be permitted to acquire a nuclear weapon that has a deliverable capacity on a ballistic missile. And we have got to start intensifying our discussions with the Chinese, because they can’t possibly want this big problem on their doorstep,” she said……..http://www.news18.com/news/world/us-will-not-allow-north-korea-to-have-deliverable-nuclear-weapon-clinton-1291551.html
North Korea demands recognition as legitimate nuclear state, Guardian, 11 Sept 16 Pyongyang spokesman says threat of further sanctions is ‘laughable’ and country will work to increase its nuclear force North Korea has demanded the US recognise it as a “legitimate nuclear weapons state” following its fifth and largest atomic test, adding that threats of further sanctions against the country were “laughable”.
The dictatorship set off its most powerful nuclear explosion to date on Friday, saying it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile and ratcheting up a challenge to rivals and the UN……….
The UN security council denounced North Korea’s decision to carry out the test and said it would begin work immediately on a resolution. The US, Britain and France pushed for the 15-member body to impose new sanctions.
Obama said after speaking by phone with the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, on Friday that they had agreed to work with the security council and other powers to vigorously enforce existing measures and to take “additional significant steps, including new sanctions”……..https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/11/north-korea-demands-recognition-as-legitimate-nuclear-state-pyongyang
North Korean nuclear tests spark global anger, ABC News 10 Sept 16 World powers have expressed outrage after North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a missile, prompting urgent United Nations talks and calls for new sanctions.
South Korea, the United States, Australia, Japan, Russia and China all condemned the blast at the Punggye-ri nuclear site, the North’s fifth and most powerful yet at 10 kilotons.
At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Security Council —set to discuss the issue later today — to take “appropriate action” after what he called a “brazen breach” of the council’s resolutions.
“The patience on our side and that of the international community has already reached its limit,” South Korean President Park Geun-Hye said, slamming the North’s young leader Kim Jong-Un for his “maniacal recklessness”.
The news drew swift condemnation from US President Barack Obama, who called the test “a grave threat to regional security and to international peace and stability” and vowed to push for new international sanctions……..
Pyongyang’s state media said the test, which comes after a series of ballistic missile launches, had realised the country’s goal of being able to fit a miniaturized warhead on a rocket.
“Our nuclear scientists staged a nuclear explosion test on a newly developed nuclear warhead at the country’s northern nuclear test site,” a North Korean TV presenter said.
First indications of an underground explosion came when seismic monitors detected a 5.3-magnitude “artificial earthquake” near the Punggye-ri nuclear site.
“The 10-kiloton blast was nearly twice the [power of the] fourth nuclear test and slightly less than the Hiroshima bombing, which was measured about 15 kilotons,” said Kim Nam-Wook of the South’s meteorological agency.
But attention soon shifted from the blast’s power to Pyongyang’s claim that it was a miniaturised warhead.
If Pyongyang can make a nuclear device small enough to fit on a rocket — and bolster the range and accuracy of its missiles — it might achieve its oft-stated aim of hitting US targets. But its past claims to have achieved that have been discounted.
Pyongyang routinely insists Washington is on the verge of launching all-out war against it.
Outside experts said authenticating North Korea’s claim to have mastered miniaturisation would be difficult using seismic data alone.
“We would need to see it tested on a missile, like China did in the 1960s,” said Melissa Hanham, a North Korea expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
“Nobody wants to see that. There is no way they could do that test in a safe way, and it could easily start a war.”
China under pressure
North Korea has been hit by five sets of United Nations sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006, but has insisted it will continue come what may.
The nuclear program has accompanied a series of ballistic missile launches, the latest of which took place on Monday as world powers gathered for a G20 meeting in China.
This week’s events pose yet another challenge for Pyongyang’s chief ally, China, which has been under pressure to rein in its increasingly aggressive neighbour. Beijing said on Friday it “firmly opposes” the test, but it has limited room to manoeuvrer. Its priority is to avoid the regime’s collapse, which would create a crisis on its border and shift the balance of power on the Korean peninsula toward the United States……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-10/north-korea-condemed-for-nuclear-tests/7832810