North Korea said it successfully tested its fifth and potentially most powerful nuclear missile on Friday morning. State media said the warhead could be mounted on ballistic rockets and would enable North Korea to produce ‘a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power.’
The blast, on the 68th anniversary of North Korea’s founding, was more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to some estimates, and drew sharp comments from the United States, Japan and China.
China ‘firmly opposed’ the test, Japan ‘protested adamantly’ and the US warned of ‘serious consequences’. South Korea accused the North leader Kim Jong-un of ‘maniacal recklessness’.
Adding to the rising voices, Russia said, “We insist that the North Korean side stop its dangerous escapades and unconditionally implement all resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.”
There are also reports that say the United Nations Security Council would discuss the test at a closed-door meeting on Friday, at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea.
The latest test was announced on state TV, hours after a 5.3 magnitude tremor was detected near the Punggye-ri underground nuclear site. Estimates of the explosive yield of the blast have varied. South Korea’s military said it was about 10 kilo tonnes, enough to make it the North’s ‘strongest nuclear test ever’. Other experts say initial indications suggest 20 kilo tonnes or more.