U.S. officials are now stating that North Korea may have attempted to test components of a hydrogen bomb after initially dismissing any possibility of the secretive state’s capability of detonating such a weapon.
CNN reported on Thursday that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the initial analysis that had been conducted of the isolated regime’s test was “not consistent” with a successful hydrogen bomb test. An unnamed U.S. official did mention, however, that air sampling (retrieved by U.S. spy air crafts) conducted after the test returned inconclusive, which prompted further assessment of the seismic data from the January 6 test.
The information gathered reveals that the test was conducted at a depth consistent with what might be needed for a hydrogen device, a fact that officials miscalculated on their original assessment.
And despite all the North Korean propaganda of conducting a successful hydrogen bomb test, the size of the seismic event along with detailed intelligence suggests it failed as a fully functioning device, further supporting the notion of the country’s lack of nuclear technology to build such a weapon. U.S. officials strongly believe that only a few components of the device exploded, speculating that perhaps a detonator explosion was the force North Koreans claimed was an H-bomb.
The test was a clear violation of UN sanctions placed against the secretive state and has caused the United States to demand stricter restrictions on the country. And despite the uproar by countries around the world, South Korean Defense Ministry has just announced today that North Korea is allegedly preparing to conduct a long-range ballistic missile test — also forbidden by the sanctions placed against the totalitarian state.
“We predict that North Korea’s next significant military provocation will be carried out in a surprising manner,” Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Thursday at a news conference in Seoul, amid unconfirmed reports the launch could be just days away. “The South Korean military is continuing to keep a close watch on any signs of North Korea’s long-range missile test.”
BREAKING: Kerry, Chinese foreign minister agree sanctions against N. Korea warranted https://t.co/BJQ4I0sYwT— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 27, 2016
United States Secretary of State John Kerry has urged China — North Korea’s closest ally — to securely put a stop to North Korea’s military ambitions during a meeting with senior Chinese leaders in Beijing. The secretary went as far as to describe North Korea’s growing nuclear capability and missile technology as a “threat the United States must take extremely seriously”.
According to CBS News, many experts in South Korea have taken note of North Korea’s continued military provocations and consider them a “carefully calculated move, with tangible objectives.”
“North Korea appears to be intent on driving a wedge between the U.S. and China,” Kim Han-kwon, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, told South Korea’s YTN news network. Kim said a new long-range missile test would cajole the international community to push for stronger sanctions against the North, which would force China — fearing the North’s political collapse and the mass exodus that would cause more than its military ambitions — to fend for its treaty ally.
“From North Korea’s perspective, a schism between China and the U.S. is the ideal situation,” Kim said. “Because of the strategic interests at stake, China will be forced to further embrace North Korea.”
North Korea conducted its first nuclear test back in 2006. Since that time it has conducted three tests, with the most recent being its alleged H-bomb testing that occurred on January 6.
(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)