This Friday there was a state celebration in North Korea. And not just because of how important the day is for the country’s communist history. The day is a national holiday in North Korea. This year, the country celebrates 68 years since Kim Il Sung founded the communist regime. Kim Il Sung is allegedly the grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong Un.
But the country had more to celebrate on the day. The communist regime led by Kim Jong Un went ahead with a fifth nuclear test. After the test, Pyongyang came out with a notification that there is improvement in the country’s military capability. The claim is that North Korea can now make nuclear warheads that are small enough to fit to a missile.
The News in North Korea
Ri Chun Hee is the most well-known newsreader on North Korean state television. He read a statement about the military event on the television. The statement said that this was North Korea’s response to “hostile powers”. It specified that these hostile powers included the United States. And that this was message that North Korea has the ability to counterattack if its “enemies” were to attack. The statement continued to say that North Korea is going to keep taking measures in order to protect its dignity and its right to exist from what it called “the American threat”.
Pyongyang has been known to make exaggerations. Most of the claims of the regime are unfounded. So this new claim that they now have the technology to miniaturize large nuclear weapons is not a certainty. However, this test seemed to be a lot bigger than previous detonations by North Korea.
And, regardless of how much truth there is to official statements, one thing is for sure. Kim Jong Un’s regime continues to make progress with respect to nuclear and ballistics programs. International sanctions seem to not have had an effect as a deterrent.
With having virtually no access the country, it is difficult to verify Pyongyang’s claims. One way of figuring out what North Korea actually did is by looking at the seismic activity.
At 9 a.m. local time this Friday seismological agencies detected seismic activity. Specifically, a large earthquake of an artificial nature, near the nuclear test site. The U.S. Geological Survey said that the explosion caused a 5.3-magnitude earthquake.
Jeffrey Lewis is the director of East Asia Nonproliferation Program. He does that for the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Lewis is certain that this was a nuclear test. He estimated that the size of the nuclear bomb was between 10 and 20 kilotons. If reports can confirm this, that places the test at the top of North Korea’s other tests. To compare, the fourth test in January was around six kilotons.
South Korea said that they believed it was another nuclear test. Both the governments of Japan and South Korea held meetings to discuss the situation. In Washington, spokesman Ned Price said that the United States was “monitoring and continuing to assess the situation in close coordination with our regional partners.”
Image source: here.