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DPRK announces success of first H-bomb test, draws criticism, skepticism
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea announced Wednesday that it has successfully carried out its first hydrogen bomb test.
The move has immediately given rise to a chorus of condemnations from several countries, with some also expressing suspicion about the announcement.
In a statement carried by the state-run KCNA, Pyongyang said the "total success" of the test, which took place at 10:00 a.m. Pyongyang time (0130 GMT), meant that the DPRK has "proudly joined the advanced ranks of nuclear weapons states possessed of even H-bomb."
According to the statement, DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un ordered the H-bomb test on Dec. 15, 2015, and signed the final written order on Sunday.
The test has "proved the technological specifications of the newly developed H-bomb were accurate and scientifically verified the power of smaller H-bomb," said the statement.
The DPRK claimed that the test was conducted "in a safe and perfect manner" and that no adverse impact was caused on the environment.
It added that its development of nuclear weapons is aimed at smashing the U.S. hostile policy against it, and stressed that the DPRK would not resort to nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty was infringed on.
The DPRK's H-bomb test apparently runs counter to relevant UN resolutions and the internationally backed Korean Peninsula denuclearization efforts, and is set to cause repercussions.
Earlier in the day, the China Earthquake Network Center said a 4.9-magnitude earthquake jolted the DPRK at 0130 GMT at a depth of 0 km.
The U.S. Geological Survey, which also reported the temblor but initially put the magnitude at 5.1 and the depth at 10 km, later revised the depth to 0 km.
Pyongyang has previously conducted three nuclear tests, respectively in 2006, 2009 and 2013. During an inspection tour of a remodeled revolutionary site in December, Kim announced that his country had developed a hydrogen bomb.
Criticism and Skepticism
In the wake of Pyongyang's announcement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that China "firmly" opposes the DPRK's nuclear test and will work with the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In South Korea, the National Security Council called an emergency meeting, during which President Park Geun-hye called the test a "grave provocation."
"Now, the government should closely cooperate with the international community to make sure that North Korea (the DPRK) pays the corresponding price," Park's office quoted her as saying.
Meanwhile, South Korea's intelligence agency expressed skepticism over whether the device tested Wednesday by the DPRK was a hydrogen nuclear bomb.
The country's meteorological agency said separately that it had not detected any radiation after the DPRK made the announcement.
In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the DPRK's move "clearly violates UN Security Council resolutions and is a grave challenge against international efforts for non-proliferation."
Japan, he added, will work along with other countries to take firm action against the DPRK if Pyongyang's claim of a H-bomb test turns out to be true.
Across the Pacific, the United States said that while it could not yet confirm if the DPRK had conducted a hydrogen bomb test, it would respond appropriately to any provocations.
"While we cannot confirm these claims at this time, we condemn any violation of UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolutions and again call on North Korea (the DPRK) to abide by its international obligations and commitments," White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
The UN Security Council is expected to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the development.
[Source: Xinhua, Pyongyang, 06Jan16]
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