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N. Korea conducts 6th nuclear test, claims
H-bomb to be put on ICBM

North Korea said Sunday it detonated a hydrogen bomb that can be
mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile in its sixth and
most powerful nuclear test, an act crossing a dangerous threshold
that could take already-high tensions with the United States to a new
level.

North Korea said through its official media that the test
carried out at noon Pyongyang time was a "perfect success" that
proved it now has the ability to adjust the power of a nuclear
warhead as it chooses depending on an attack target.

A statement from North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Institute said
the test was carried out with a hydrogen bomb of "unprecedentedly big
power."

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the test was
estimated to have a yield of around 70 kilotons, which compares with
about 16 kilotons of the world's first atomic bomb dropped by the
United States on Hiroshima in 1945.

The confirmation of the test by North Korea came hours after
foreign meteorological authorities detected a strong artificial
earthquake near its nuclear site in the northeastern area near China.

The test is the first since U.S. President Donald Trump took
office in January and is a direct challenge to his administration
still struggling to come up with steps to rein in North Korea,
although it has said all options, including military action, are on
the table.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Trump resorted to Twitter
to issue his first response to North Korea, saying its "words and
actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United
States."

Trump also called North Korea "a rogue nation which has become a
great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but
with little success."

In a third tweet, he said that "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!"

The quake was detected after North Korea said early Sunday
morning it has successfully produced a hydrogen bomb compact enough
to be loaded on a newly developed ICBM.

The country's official media said the results of the test
confirmed the "accuracy and credibility" of the new bomb "to be
placed at the payload" of an ICBM.

North Korea last carried out a nuclear test in September last
year, the purpose of which, according to Pyongyang, was to assess the
explosive power of a nuclear warhead to be loaded on a ballistic
missile.

North Korea is banned by the United Nations from any tests of
nuclear or ballistic missile technology and is already subject to
tough international sanctions.

But North Korea insists that it has a legitimate right to
develop the technologies for self-defense against what it perceives
as security threats from the United States and other "hostile" forces.

Japanese officials said the power of the artificial temblor was
about 10 times stronger than that from the previous test on Sept. 9
last year, which was a 5.3-magnitude seismic event and coincided with
the 68th anniversary of North Korea's founding.

Japan's weather agency said the latest quake had a magnitude of
6.1 at a depth of "0 kilometer," a strong indication of manmade
phenomenon.

The China Earthquake Network Center said it detected another
quake in North Korea with a magnitude of 4.6 about 8 minutes later,
which it said could be due to the "collapse" apparently of a mountain
tunnel in which the device was placed.

North Korea's weapons program seems to be making steady progress
marked by the continuation of a series of missile tests this year.

In July, it for the first time test-fired an ICBM that could
potentially put many parts of the mainland United States within range.

It also fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile last month
that flew over Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean.

Kim has said the launch of the Hwasong-12 missile, which
traveled about 2,700 kilometers after crossing over the northern
Japanese island of Hokkaido, was a "meaningful prelude to containing
Guam," the U.S. Pacific territory that is home to about 7,000 U.S.
troops.

On Sunday, prior to the sixth test, North Korea's official media
said Kim inspected the new hydrogen bomb at the institute to learn
about its technical specifications and operational characteristics.

Kim said the institute should conclude "the final-stage research
and development for perfecting the state nuclear force," while also
giving it new tasks, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

"All components of the H-bomb were homemade," Kim was quoted as
saying, adding that North Korea can now produce as many powerful
nuclear arms "as it wants."

North Korea's announcement on the bomb with "great destructive
power" came as the United States and its allies were seeking to put
more pressure on North Korea following its flurry of weapons tests.

The sixth test happened before Chinese President Xi Jinping was
to host a summit of emerging economies in the southeastern Chinese
city of Xiamen and after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump
held their third phone talks since Tuesday's launch of the Hwasong-12.

Abe told reporters after the conversation that he and Trump
agreed to "increase pressure on North Korea and make it change its
policies" by working closely along with South Korea and the rest of
the world.

For Xi, the summit of the BRICS grouping comprising Brazil,
Russia, India, China and South Africa, which will run through
Tuesday, is an important diplomatic chance to cast himself as a very
influential global leader ahead of next month's twice-a-decade
congress of the Communist Party.

Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks on the eve of
the summit, with North Korea almost certain to be high on their
agenda.

China's Foreign Ministry harshly criticized North Korea for
conducting its sixth nuclear test in defiance of repeated warnings
from the international community and urged it to avoid taking any
"wrong" action.

China expresses "resolute opposition to and strong condemnation"
of the test, the ministry said in a statement.

Russian's Foreign Ministry said the test showed contempt for
U.N. resolutions and deserved censure to the maximum extent.

But China and Russia have warned that more pressure on North
Korea risks further escalating tensions.

Images released by North Korea's official media showed Kim
observing a silver, gourd-shaped device purported to be the new
hydrogen bomb.

The hydrogen bomb for an ICBM was developed and upgraded based
on the results of the country's first hydrogen bomb test on Jan. 6
last year, KCNA said.

It said the hydrogen bomb, the explosive power of which is
adjustable from tens to hundreds of kilotons, is a "multi-functional
thermonuclear nuke" that can be detonated at high altitudes for
"super-powerful electromagnetic pulse" attacks.

After North Korea conducted two ICBM tests in July, the U.N.
Security Council rolled out additional sanctions against Pyongyang
aimed at slashing its $3 billion annual export revenue by a third,
with measures including a ban on all imports of coal, iron and
seafood.

North Korea has reacted sharply to the sanctions and threatened
to take countermeasures against the United States and its allies
trying to put Pyongyang into a corner. (Sept. 3)


People look at a large screen in Pyongyang on Sept. 3, 2017, showing the signature of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on an order to test a hydrogen bomb that can be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea said the same day that it had successfully conducted its sixth nuclear test. (Kyodo)