North Korea claims it has successfully tested a ‘miniturised hydrogen bomb’

North Korea has conducted its fourth nuclear test, the country’s state media has announced, in a move that could take it a step closer to developing nuclear warheads capable of striking the US mainland.


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Some experts, though, said initial evidence was pointing towards a test involving a uranium or plutonium device and not, as Pyongyang has claimed, a far more powerful hydrogen bomb.

An announcement on North Korean television said the country had successfully tested a “miniaturised hydrogen bomb” underground on Wednesday morning, describing it as an “act of self-defence” against the US. North Korean claims about the size and type of bomb have not been independently verified.

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If the claims are true, it would be the first time the North has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb and could also enable the secretive state to launch long-range nuclear missiles.

“If it’s true, it means they’ve made something smaller scale, capable of being put onto a missile, said John Carlson, the former head of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office. “I think we can assume the previous tests they’ve carried out have been devices too large to fit onto a missile.”

South Korea’s spy agency believes the seismic wave reported was more likely caused by an atomic bomb, Lee Cheol Woo, a South Korean politician, said.

Yang Uk, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum, said: “Given the scale it is hard to believe this is a real hydrogen bomb. They could have tested some middle stage kind (of device) between an A-bomb and H-bomb, but unless they come up with any clear evidence, it is difficult to trust their claim.”

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