North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear bomb yet
This is North Korea’s most provocative move during Trump’s presidency.
North Korea just tested its most powerful nuclear weapon to date, posing its biggest challenge yet to President Donald Trump and threatening to escalate tensions with Washington that are already reaching potentially dangerous levels.
At noon local time on September 3, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake registered at North Korea’s Punggye-ri testing site, according to the US Geological Survey. That indicated Pyongyang detonated a hydrogen bomb with a 100 kiloton yield, according to experts, which would make the device around seven times stronger than the bomb America dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. This was the country’s sixth nuclear test and its first during the Trump administration.
Hours earlier, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s state-run media organization, released pictures of the country’s leader Kim Jong Un looking at a hydrogen bomb load onto an intercontinental ballistic missile that could theoretically hit most major US cities.
After the test, KCNA noted Pyongyang conducted the test “to examine and confirm the accuracy and credibility” of the weapon.
“North Korea wants the ability to target the United States,” Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on North Korea’s missile program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told me. “A thermonuclear weapon does more damage,” he continued, using another name for a hydrogen bomb. And this bomb can do quite a bit of damage.
Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert at MIT, told the Washington Post that even with “relatively inaccurate intercontinental ballistic missile technology, [North Korea] can destroy the better part of a city with this yield.”
This morning, Trump tweeted his displeasure with the development. “North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States,” he wrote. His subsequent tweets claimed China has had “little success” in stopping North Korea’s nuclear program and that South Korea’s “talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work.”