North Korea says it has successfully carried out an underground hydrogen bomb test which, if confirmed, would be its fourth nuclear test since 2006.
The claim came after a 5.1 magnitude tremor was detected close to its nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, which monitors said was likely not natural.
This is North Korea’s first claim to have tested a hydrogen bomb, which is more powerful than an atomic bomb. But international experts say there is no confirmation as yet.
Suspicion an underground test had been carried out was first raised after the US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the quake – detected at 10:00 Pyongyang time (01:30 GMT) – was in the north-east of the country, about 50km (30 miles) from Kilju city, near Punggye-ri.
Then in a surprise announcement, a newsreader on North Korean state TV said: “The republic’s first hydrogen bomb test has been successfully performed at 10:00 am on January 6, 2016.”
Last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said Pyongyang had developed a hydrogen bomb, although many experts were sceptical. It could be days or weeks before independent tests are able to verify or dismiss the claim. Hours before the seismic activity, South Korean media reported that Pyongyang had test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine in late December. It is unclear whether the test was successful or not. Read more