World / Asia-Pacific

ROK questions whether DPRK tests H-bomb

By Agencies in Seoul (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-07 08:29

Test on Wednesday is met with a burst of jubilation and pride in Pyongyang

The defense ministry and spy agency of the Republic of Korea on Wednesday questioned whether the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had tested a hydrogen bomb given the tiny size of seismic activity caused by the hydrogen device detonation.

ROK's Vice-Defense Minister Hwang In-moo told reporters after a meeting with lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party that "for now, it is unlikely" for the DPRK to have succeeded in testing a hydrogen device, according to local media reports.

Hwang said that a procedure is needed to assess the explosion based on numbers by calculating how powerful it was and how it can be gauged through further data analysis.

The DPRK announced that it had successfully carried out its first test of a "miniaturized" hydrogen bomb, but the National Intelligence Service, ROK's spy agency, said that there is a possibility that it was not an H-bomb test given the small size of the seismic activity.

The seismic activity, caused by Wednesday's nuclear test, was at a magnitude of 4.8 on an explosive power of 6 kilotons. It was lower than a magnitude of 4.9 and a blast of 7.9 kilotons that were caused by the DPRK's previous nuclear test in 2013 of an atomic bomb.

The DPRK's first nuclear test in 2006 caused a 3.6 magnitude of seismic activity, with the second test of an atomic bomb in 2009 triggering a 4.5 magnitude of tremor.

The spy agency claimed that if it was an H-bomb, its blast size should have been hundreds of kilotons or at least tens of kilotons even under the failed test scenario.

The Korea Meteorological Administration, ROK's weather agency, said that the artificial quake happened at a magnitude of 4.8 in a location near the DPRK's underground nuclear test at Punggye-ri site in the northeast region.

All the three previous nuclear tests were conducted at the Punggye-ri nuclear facility.

The test on Wednesday was met with a burst of jubilation and pride in Pyongyang.

A DPRK television anchor, reading statement, said, "The test of a miniaturized hydrogen bomb was a perfect success that elevated our nuclear might to the next level".

Song Chol, a resident of Pyongyang, said: "The United States is the aggressor with all kinds of nuclear weapons, waiting to invade our country, so having a hydrogen bomb is the right thing, the legitimate right of a sovereign state, which nobody can complain about. It would be stupid to put down your gun as you are faced by fierce wolves rushing at you."

Xinhua - AP

(China Daily 01/07/2016 page11)

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