North Korea Sparks New Peninsular Tensions with Nuclear Test

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) claimed it tested a hydrogen bomb in the northern region of the country in violation of current United Nation Security Council resolutions and sparking new tensions in the surrounding area. This provocation is claimed to be a response to Western aggression and practice military exercises in the region and has escalated the alert level in the United States, South Korea, and China.  North Korea has already proven its ballistic missile capability and currently has the technology to launch projectiles a maximum of 5,600 miles which is well within reach of the western United States.

North Korea is no stranger to garnering international attention for blatantly ignoring repeated requests for a denuclearized nation and has instead continued ramping up efforts to display a prominent military force on the world stage. In the past few years, the nation has conducted numerous nuclear tests, but this is the first time in history the country’s leadership has claimed to detonate a hydrogen bomb which if confirmed would be a significant increase in the DPRK’s military might.

History of Nuclear Tests
October 9, 2006
The DPRK conducts its first underground nuclear test with an estimated force of 1000 tons. International observers      determine the test to be a misfire and success is speculative.

May 25, 2009
The country conducts its first successful detonation estimated at 2.35 kilotons of TNT. Results in new UN Security Council resolutions and tightened sanctions. Notable due to the timing of the event coinciding after the death of ruler Kim Jong-il.
February 12, 2013
3rd nuclear test is conducted which was detected on seismic equipment. Underground test was estimated to have the same yield as 6-9 kilotons of TNT.

January 6, 2016
The most recent test which is the first to have been claimed as a hydrogen bomb which is significantly powerful than previous tests. Like previous tests, this was universally denounced and additional sanctions are likely to be levied on the country.

International Response
In the wake of this new claim. many foreign leaders and international bodies have denounced the test as irresponsible and dangerous for security in the region.   China and Russia have denounced the DPRK over claims of a hydrogen bomb detonation which is one of the first times both countries have publicly expressed their dismay over the deteriorating situation in the region. Both China and Russia are considering joining the international coalition of countries who are already imposing sanctions on the country, which is a new development as both nations serve as the DPRK’s main trading partners.

United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki Moon has said, “This act is profoundly destabilizing for regional security and seriously undermines international non-proliferation efforts. I condemn it unequivocally.”

The White House released a statement reaffirming the country’s commitment to the security of the Korean peninsula with South Korean President Park Geun-hye stating, “The two leaders condemned the test and agreed that North Korea’s actions constitute yet another violation of its obligations and commitments under international law, including several UN Security Council Resolutions.”

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