Pyongyang says it has successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test, hours after seismologists detected an artificial earthquake close to the country’s main atomic test site northeast of North Korea.
“The republic’s first hydrogen bomb test has been successfully performed at 10:00 a.m. (0130 GMT) on January 6, 2016, based on the strategic determination of the Workers’ Party,” North Korea’s state-owned broadcaster, KCTV, reported on Wednesday.
“With the perfect success of our historic H-bomb, we have joined the rank of advanced nuclear states,” it added, noting that the test was of a “miniaturized” device.
North Korea’s state news agency later stressed in a statement that Pyongyang will continue to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the United States.
The statement further underscored that North Korea will act as a responsible nuclear state, and will use its nuclear armament only to defend its sovereignty. North Korea also vowed that it will not transfer its nuclear capabilities to other parties.
The hydrogen bomb test was apparently ordered by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un himself, and came just two days before his birthday.
The US Geological Survey had reported an artificial earthquake earlier on Wednesday, saying that the epicenter of the quake was some 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Kilju city, which serves as the seat of North Hamgyong Province, and next to the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
Japan strongly condemns North Korea nuclear test
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed on Wednesday that Tokyo does not tolerate Pyongyang’s nuclear tests.
Stressing that Japan will give an adequate response to North Korea’s latest experiment, Abe described the move as a threat to his country’s security.
South Korea to penalize North over nuclear test
In a separate development, the South Korean government denounced the North’s nuclear test, while pledging to take “all necessary measures” to punish its neighbor.
“We strongly condemn that North Korea carried out a fourth nuclear test in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions, despite repeated warnings from us and the international community,” a government statement read.
The statement added, “We will take all necessary measures including additional sanctions by the UN Security Council… so that the North will pay the price for the nuclear test.”
US threatens Pyongyang with appropriate response
Additionally, the White House said it will continue to protect and defend its interests and those of its allies in East Asia, and will act in response to North Korea’s provocations.
“…we condemn any violation of UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments,” White House National Security Council spokesman, Ned Price, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the US State Department also condemned the test as violation of UN resolutions, calling on North Korea to abide by its obligations and commitments.
UN Security Council to discuss North Korea’s nuclear test
The United Nations Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting on North Korea’s nuclear test at 1600 GMT on Wednesday.
Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity late on Tuesday, three Security Council diplomats said the meeting would likely be held behind closed doors.
Another council diplomat said the United States and Japan jointly requested the urgent council meeting.
They did not explain what action, if any, the 15-nation council was planning to take in response to the North Korea’s statement that it has conducted a fourth nuclear test.
China evacuates border residents after Pyongyang’s nuclear test
Chinese border residents have been reportedly evacuated from buildings after feeling tremors from North Korea’s nuclear test on Wednesday, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
People near the frontier with North Korea “clearly felt tremors” on Wednesday morning after Pyongyang announced that it had detonated a hydrogen bomb, CCTV added.
The areas included Yanji, Hunchun and Changbai in Jilin Province, which are among Chinese counties closest to the North’s nuclear test site.
Residents in Yanji saw desks and chairs shake for several seconds and some companies evacuated employees from their offices, the report said.
North Korea is under UN sanctions over launching missiles considered by the US and South Korea as ballistic and aimed at delivering nuclear warheads, but Pyongyang says its numerous missile tests seek to boost its defense capabilities in the face of enemy threats.
By Press TV