North Korea have just tested their biggest nuclear weapon yet
A weapons test ordered by North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, has just been confirmed by the country's state news as a "perfect success". The weapon is believed to be a hydrogen bomb made for use in an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile), and could have catastrophic consequences if used in warfare.
Several nations have already condemned the test, with China, Russia and France offering formal statements expressing their objection to Kim Jong-Un's actions. Japan has also spoken out about the use of nuclear weapons, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying that,
"North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programme is a threat that is more grave and urgent to the safety of our country and has entered a new stage. It is significantly hurting regional and international peace and stability. Our country lodge a strict protest against North Korea and condemns it in the strongest words."
In response, the US has stated that they are "firmly committed" to defending Japan as part of their alliance treaty.
Shortly after the test took place, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale was detecting near to an area where previous tests have taken place in the past. According to Japan's meteorological agency, the resulting tremors were reportedly over ten times as powerful as the last time North Korea an atomic weapons test was carried out.
Chinese president, Xi Jinping, did not directly address the weapons test, but expressed concern over nations who appear to be "posing challenges to world peace". He said, “The intertwined threats of terrorism and a lack of cybersecurity – among others – have cast a dark shadow over the world. People around the world want peace and cooperation, not conflict or confrontation.”
South Korea have also spoken out against their neighbour's actions, saying they should be responded to with the "strongest possible" force.
Citizens of South Korea do not seem as concerned, however, with one resident telling The Guardian newspaper that,
"To be honest, not many South Koreans realise the reality [of the situation] including myself. What North Korea is doing is on air everyday on the news, but I don’t think people here care about it a lot. Even I don’t really care about it as this kind of news has occurred many times."
Whether or not this is cause for panic appears to be debatable, but Kim Jong-un is undeniably making progress in his endeavours to expand North Korea's capacity for nuclear attack. Since the leader assumed power six years ago, the country's missile programme has expanded significantly.
Just earlier today, the North Korean government released photos showing Kim observing a weapon that is believed to be the hydrogen bomb. The leader can be seen inspecting the bomb, which, according to some scientists, could be "50 to 100 times the power of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki".
As the first test since President Donald Trump took office, analysts fear that this is just another step towards Pyongyang's goal of developing a weapon capable of striking the US. With tensions mounting between the two nations, it is vital that any further moves towards nuclear attack are avoided.