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North Korea Appears to Conduct Nuclear Test, South Korea Says

04 September 2017

China's Foreign Ministry on Sunday urged North Korea to stop its "wrong" actions, after Pyongyang said it successfully tested an advanced hydrogen bomb.

South Korea's military said earlier Sunday that North Korea is believed to have conducted its sixth nuclear test after it picked up seismic waves measuring 5.6.

Following the country's claim of an accelerated nuclear arsenal, President Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about efforts to maximize pressure on North Korea.

Japanese and South Korean meteorological officials said an natural disaster detected near the North's test site - measured by the US Geological Survey (USGS) at magnitude 6.3 - was around 10 times more powerful than previous detonations.

"It is absolutely unacceptable if North Korea did force another nuclear test, and we must protest strongly", Abe said.

North Korea has developed a hydrogen bomb which can be loaded into the country's new intercontinental ballistic missile, the official Korean Central News Agency claimed today.

If the initial data holds, it would make it the most powerful weapon North Korea has ever tested.

In Seoul, President Moon Jae-In called for new United Nations sanctions to "completely isolate North Korea" and said the South would discuss deploying "the strongest strategic assets of the USA military".

North Korea claimed in January a year ago to have tested a miniaturised hydrogen bomb, also known as a thermonuclear device, but outside experts were sceptical, suggesting it could have been a "boosted device", an atomic bomb that uses some hydrogen isotopes to increase its explosive yield.

There was no independent confirmation that the detonation, which drew swift worldwide condemnation, was a hydrogen bomb rather than a less powerful atomic device.

Just before the test, according to state media, Kim and the other senior leaders at the party presidium meeting discussed "detailed ways and measures for containing the US and other hostile forces' vicious moves for sanctions".

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Mr Mattis said the United States is "not looking to the total annihilation" of North Korea, but added "we have many options to do so". Earlier in the day, the party's newspaper ran a front-page story showing photos of Kim examining what it said was a nuclear warhead being fitted onto the nose of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"(We) are closely monitoring the North Korean military's move under South Korea-U.S. coordination".

Kim visited the country's Nuclear Weapons Institute and "watched an H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM", KCNA said.

Any potential USA move for military action, however, would prompt resistance from the Moon Jae-in government, which has been calling for dialogue as a first and foremost solution to the crisis.

North Korea's nuclear and missile program has made huge strides since Kim rose to power following his father's death in late 2011.

The nuclear test is understood to be the largest yet and follows two last year, as well as a string of missile tests this year.

Conservative parties have called for Moon to rethink his dovish policy, demanding Seoul consider its own nuclear options, such as the redeployment of US tactical nuclear arms, which were withdrawn in the early 1990s following an inter-Korean declaration for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang's intermediate range ballistic missile flew over Northern Japan, sparking worldwide criticism and a statement of condemnation by the UN Security Council.

A long line of US presidents has failed to check North Korea's persistent pursuit of missiles and nuclear weapons.

"The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton", read an English dispatch of the KCNA report, "is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attack according to strategic goals".

About 28,500 American troops are deployed in South Korea as deterrence against North Korea.

North Korea Appears to Conduct Nuclear Test, South Korea Says