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'Very hostile and dangerous': Donald Trump condemns North Korea's sixth nuclear test

The US President also criticised China, and offered advice to South Korea.

South Korea Koreas Tensions Earthquake and Volcano of the Korea expert Ryoo Yong-gyu speaks about North Korea's artificial earthquake. Source: Lee Jin-man via PA Images

Updated at 12.40pm

NORTH KOREA SAYS it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb this morning, calling the nuclear testing a “complete success” during the announcement on its national broadcaster.

Japan, has lodged a formal protest with Pyongyang after a major explosion at the isolated nation’s main test site sent tensions surging. Initial tests indicated that the quake caused by the test is 9.8 times more powerful than North Korea’s last nuclear test.

A hydrogen bomb, or H-bomb, is a nuclear device more powerful than an atomic bomb.

The 6.3-magnitude explosion was detected near the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site by US monitors, which South Korea’s defence ministry said earlier was “suspected to be its sixth nuclear test”.

Japan Koreas Tensions A Tokyo man looks at TV reports of North Korea nuclear test. Source: Eugene Hoshiko via PA Images

The explosion came just hours after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held telephone talks with US President Donald Trump to discuss fears over NorthKorea’s rogue weapons programme.

Reacting to the news this afternoon, President Trump said that North Korea’s “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States…”

…North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.
South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!

Reaction

South Korea Koreas Tensions A screen showing seismic waves that were measured in South Korea. Source: Lee Jin-man via PA Images

South Korean President Moon Jae-In called for the “strongest punishment” against North Korea, including new United Nations sanctions.

The South is also reported as saying it would discuss deploying “the strongest strategic assets of the US military” – potentially a reference to tactical nuclear weapons which were withdrawn by Washington in 1991.

The news this morning has also provoked strong responses from Russia, China, Japan and the United Nations.

South Korea Koreas Tensions South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Source: Yonhap via PA Images

Russia‘s foreign ministry in Moscow said:

This latest demonstrative disregard by Pyongyang of the requirements of the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the norms of international law deserves the strongest condemnation.

“In the unfolding conditions, it is imperative to remain calm and to refrain from any actions that lead to a further escalation of tension,” a statement said.

China Koreas Tensions A man drives his car past a display board showing photos of ballistic missile launches in North Korea. Source: Andy Wong via PA Images

China said that North Korea “has ignored the international community’s widespread opposition, again carrying out a nuclear test. China’s government expresses resolute opposition and strong condemnation toward this”.

The head of the UN’s atomic watchdog  Yukiya Amano said:

“Today’s nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is an extremely regrettable act,” he said.

This new test, which follows the two tests last year and is the sixth since 2006, is in complete disregard of the repeated demands of the international community.

US President Donald Trump, who has previously warned Kim Jong-un over missile tests, has yet to respond.

Power

“The scale of the energy [of this test] was five to six times more powerful than the fifth nuclear test,” Lee Mi-Sun, head of the Korea Meteorological Administration’s earthquake and volcano centre, told a televised briefing.

The North carried out its first nuclear test in 2006, and successive blasts are believed to have been aimed at refining designs and reliability as well as increasing yield.

Its fifth detonation, in September last year, caused a 5.3 magnitude quake and according to Seoul had a 10-kiloton yield – less than the 15-kiloton US device which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

- With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha © AFP 2017

Read: ‘Brendan, we have to get out of here’: Irishman in Japan recalls panic over missile alert

Read: ‘Hard labour – it’s hard’: Canadian pastor freed from North Korean jail despite life sentence

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