The government of Japan confirmed on Sunday that North Korea has conducted sixth nuclear test.
Japan has concluded that the tremors detected in North Korea were a nuclear explosion, marking the sixth atomic test by Pyongyang since 2006.
“After examining the data we concluded that it was a nuclear tests,” Foreign Minister Taro Kono said at a briefing broadcast by public broadcaster NHK following a meeting of Japan’s National Security Council. Japan’s Ministry of Defence said it had dispatched at least three military jets from bases in Japan to test for radiation.
North Korea appeared to carry out a sixth nuclear test Sunday, with seismic monitors measuring an “explosion” of 6.3 magnitude near its main test site, sending tensions over its weapons ambitions to new heights.
North Korea ‘explosion’ points to nuclear test
The apparent test came just hours after it claimed to have developed a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded into the country’s new intercontinental ballistic missile.
The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the seismic tremor was detected near the North’s Punggye-ri test site.
United States Geological Survey recorded the magnitude at 6.3 — larger than any previous test.
Jana Pursely, a USGS geophysicist, told AFP: “It’s an explosion rather than an earthquake.”
Nuclear-armed Pyongyang has long sought the means to deliver an atomic warhead to the United States, its sworn enemy.
North Korea triggered a new ramping up of tensions in July, when it carried out two successful tests of an ICBM, the Hwasong-14, which apparently brought much of the US mainland within range.
Putin warns North Korea situation on verge of ‘large-scale conflict’
It has since threatened to send a salvo of rockets towards the US territory of Guam, and last week fired a missile over Japan and into the Pacific, the first time time it has ever acknowledged doing so.
US President Donald Trump has warned Pyongyang that it faces “fire and fury”, and that Washington’s weapons are “locked and loaded”.
Trump spoke by telephone to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the need to “maximize pressure on North Korea” in the face of the “growing threat” it presented, according to a White House readout of the call, without specifying when it took place.
The North has repeatedly claimed that it has a thermonuclear weapon, which can be far more powerful than other nuclear devices.