North Korea said it successfully tested an advanced hydrogen bomb on Sunday, marking a dramatic escalation in the state’s stand-off with the US over its nuclear weapons programme.
An announcement on state television claimed that a hydrogen bomb test was a“perfect success” and a “meaningful” step in completing the country’s nuclear weapons programmes.
Japan said an earthquake detected near the North’s test site was around 10 times more powerful than previous detonations. South Korea says it is discussing deploying U.S. strategic military assets to the Korean peninsula.
Japan has immediately raised the prospect of further sanctions against the isolated North including curbs on its oil trade.
“I ordered the relevant ministries to gather and analyze information and inform the public appropriately,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “If North Korea has conducted a nuclear test, we will never tolerate this action. We strongly protest this action by Pyongyang.”
Earlier pictures released by the North Korean state news agency showed Kim Jong Un inspecting a silver-coloured, hourglass-shaped warhead accompanied by nuclear scientists.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been high since last month when North Korea threatened to launch missiles into the sea near the strategically located U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.