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Shocking footage from China is said to show the tremors of an earthquake created by North Korea's hydrogen bomb test, which took place more than 100 miles away.
The reclusive country announced it had carried out a 'perfect' thermonuclear test this morning, triggering a 5.1 magnitude earthquake.
A video from China's north eastern Yanji county shows a highway shaking uncontrollably as a result of the blast.
Stills from the same area revealed cracks forming in a playground where many children had gathered and locals being evacuated from a building.
Footage from the Chinese county of Yanji (pictured), more than 100 miles away from where North Korea detonated the bomb, showed the highway shaking from an alleged earthquake
Hydrogen bombs (top left, explainer graphic) can generate vast and violent amounts of energy through nuclear fission - the splitting of atoms - followed by fusion - the combining of atoms
Pictures from the same area near China's border with North Korea showed cracks developing on the ground as a result of the blast
- >Is North Korea LYING about successful hydrogen bomb test?... >Kim Jong-Un reveals rare show of emotion as he says farewell...
- >Was Kim Jong-un¿s ¿closest comrade¿ killed off by the North...
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Yanji, Huichun and Changbai - which are located near China's border with North Korea - are said to have felt the tremors the most.
Atomic weapons experts and North Korea's opponents have cast doubt over the H-bomb explosion, saying the size of the blast and resulting earthquake was far too small to have come from such a device.
Hydrogen bombs can produce explosions up to 1,000 times more powerful than atom bombs, such as the one dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
That A-bomb delivered the equivalent of around 15 kilotons of TNT explosive, while the US hydrogen bomb tested at Bikini atoll in 1954 delivered 450 kilotons.
This extra destructive power means they are standard issue in the arsenals of the US, Russia, Britain and France.
South Korea's spy agency said today's blast produced an explosive yield of only six kilotons. One of the country's senior lawmakers, Lee Cheol Woo, said even a failed hydrogen bomb detonation yields tens of kilotons.
Stills from near the China-North Korea border showed locals being evacuated from a building after the quake
North Korea today conducted a 'successful' hydrogen bomb test at its Punggye-ri test site, Pyongyang claimed today
FROM LUXURY GOODS TO VISAS: THE SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON REPEAT OFFENDER NORTH KOREA
The UN has imposed a number of sanctions on North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
- October 2006: The security council imposed an arms embargo and ban on a range of imports and exports to prevent North Korea from carrying out nuclear tests or launching ballistic missiles
- June 2009: Ban was extended to any military material, financial transactions and technical training related to the supply and use of arms, nuclear and missile technology
- 2013: The provision was further strengthened to allow countries to seize and destroy material connected to North Korea's weapons programs
TRAVEL, LUXURY GOODS AND ASSETS FREEZE
- 2006: A UN sanctions committee was created to 'blacklist' those deemed to be providing support to North Korea's banned programs. Those blacklisted had their assets frozen and were banned from travelling abroad
- 2013: This was strengthened to those who may have helped North Korea evade sanctions
- There are 20 entities and 12 individuals on the UN sanctions blacklist, which was last updated in July 2014 when sanctions were imposed on the Ocean Maritime Management (OMM) company for arranging shipments of concealed arms from Cuba to North Korea in 2013
- The North Korean nationals on the blacklist are mostly involved in trading houses and commercial banks, but there is also Atomic Minister Ri Je-Son and the former director of the Yongbyon nuclear research center, Ri Hong-Sop
American agencies added that the evidence from the blast was 'not consistent' with North Korea's claims.
Crispin Rovere, an Australia-based nuclear expert, said: 'The seismic data that's been received indicates that the explosion is probably significantly below what one would expect from an H-bomb test.Let's begin the year of 2016... with the thrilling sound of our first hydrogen bomb explosion, so that the whole world will look up to our socialist, nuclear-armed republic Newsreader on North Korean TV
'So initially it seems to be that they've successfully conducted a nuclear test, but unsuccessfully completed the second-stage hydrogen explosion.'
The nuclear test, which caused an earthquake that was measured by the United States Geological Survey, was ordered by North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
The thermonuclear weapon is believed to have detonated in the atmosphere at 10am local time (1.30am GMT) at the Punggye-ri test site in the north-east of the country, North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.
Thousands across the country gathered in public squares to watch a newsreader announce the H-bomb test on state TV.
As people raised their arms to the sky and cheered, she said: 'Let's begin the year of 2016... with the thrilling sound of our first hydrogen bomb explosion, so that the whole world will look up to our socialist, nuclear-armed republic and the great Workers' Party of Korea.'
North Koreans watch a news broadcast on a video screen outside Pyongyang Railway Station as the state confirmed that their detonation of a thermonuclear weapon had been a 'perfect success'
North Korea had previously hinted at the possession of 'stronger, more powerful' weapons. Today is the first time the existence of such a bomb has been confirmed
The nuclear test, which caused an earthquake that was measured by the United States Geological Survey, was ordered by North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (pictured)
Experts have been quick to cast doubt on the H-bomb test, saying the size of the explosion and resulting earthquake was far too small to have come from such a device
Last month, Kim Jong-Un had suggested Pyongyang had already developed a hydrogen bomb - although the claim was greeted with scepticism by international experts. A South Korean man watches on as news of the earthquake broke this morning
An intensity shake map released by the US Geological Survey (USGS) shows the location where the preliminary 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck - caused by the detonation of a thermonuclear weapon
TIMELINE OF NORTH KOREA'S ATTEMPTS TO BECOME A NUCLEAR POWER
August 31, 1998: North Korea fires a rocket over Japan and into Pacific Ocean but its accuracy is reportedly poor with no meaningful strike capability.
July 5, 2006: North Korea launches a three-stage rocket with a potential range of 6,700 kilometers (4,100 miles) but it fizzles after liftoff, according to U.S. and South Korean officials. North Korea has never acknowledged the launch.
October 9, 2006: North Korea conducts its first underground nuclear test blast, after citing 'extreme threat of a nuclear war' from United States.
April 5, 2009: A long-range rocket said to be carrying a satellite reaches the Pacific but fails in the third stage. Despite North Korea's claims of success, no satellite reaches orbit, U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command says.
April 14, 2009: North Korea quits six-party nuclear disarmament talks and vows to restart nuclear facilities in protest against international condemnation over its rocket launch.
May 25, 2009: North Korea conducts its second nuclear test.
June 13, 2009: North Korea says it will start enriching uranium, a possible second route to manufacture nuclear weapons in addition to a plutonium-based program at its reactor.
May 11, 2010: North Korea claims to have succeeded in nuclear fusion reaction, which led to speculation that the country was trying to build a more powerful bomb. Outside analysts doubt the North's claim.
February 29, 2012: North Korea announces a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests in food aid deal with U.S.
April 13, 2012: North Korea launches long-range rocket from west coast that fizzles shortly after liftoff. Pyongyang acknowledges failure. The United States announces it will not carry out the food aid deal.
December 12, 2012: A long-range rocket launch puts a satellite in orbit in just 10 minutes. The U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command says North Korea appears to have put object in space.
February 13, 2013: North Korea carries out its third nuclear test.
May 9, 2015: North Korea says it has successfully test-fired a newly developed ballistic missile from a submarine. Missiles launched from submerged vessels would be harder to detect that land-based ones, but many analysts say North Korea likely remains years away from having an operational system.
December 10, 2015: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claims to have achieved the capability to detonate a hydrogen bomb.
January 6, 2016: North Korea says it has conducted a hydrogen bomb test.
In a typically propaganda-heavy statement, she added the test was a 'perfect success', elevating the country's 'nuclear might to the next level' and giving it with a weapon to defend against the US and its other enemies.
It broadcast what was said to be a handwritten note by Kim Jong Un, which said: 'Let the world look up to the strong, self-reliant nuclear-armed state.'
The pariah state also claimed the bomb was miniaturised, meaning it could be carried on a missile that would pose a new threat to the United States and its regional allies.
Pyongyang has developed the Taepodong-2, a long-range missile with an estimated range of around 3,700 miles.
This puts it in striking distance of Japan, Australia and mainland US – albeit only Alaska. Other missiles - based on Soviet Scud technology - can reach neighbours, such as South Korea.
North Korea does possess atom bomb technology. Its first three nuclear tests, carried out between 2006 and 2013, were devices on roughly the same scale as the ones used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
South Korea tanks are deployed near the Demilitarized zone. South Korean President Park Geun-hye ordered her military to bolster its combined defense posture, calling the test a 'grave provocation'
South Korean soldiers patrol the barbed-wire fence in Paju, near the border with North Korea, South Korea, as tensions in the regions escalate over North Korea's reported test of a hydrogen bomb
It has been under Security Council sanctions since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
Now, the UN Security Council has warned to start work on significant new measures in response to North Korea, which could mean a further expansion of sanctions.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 South Korean President Park Geun-Hye
Its latest test, which comes after weeks of speculation that Kim had illegally developed an even more powerful weapon, has been condemned by countries around the world, including its allies China and Russia.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon blasted the act, saying it was 'profoundly destabilising for regional security'.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye ordered its army to bolster its combined defense measures with the U.S. and called the test a 'an act that threatens our lives and future'.
'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,' she said in a statement.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: 'We absolutely cannot allow this.'
Prior to being confirmed, Chinese and South Korean officials both said there were early indications the tremor was man-made, with South Korea's Met Agency saying it was 'highly likely' the earthquake was caused by nuclear testing
A laboratory employee from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety's regional office in Gangneung, east of Seoul, checks for radioactive traces in the air in Gangneung
An official enters the South Korean defence ministry in Seoul as they investigated the source of the morning blast and resulting earthquake
BAN ON ALL NUCLEAR TESTING STILL ELUDES THE WORLD
All nuclear explosions are in theory banned under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) signed in 1996.
But the treaty is not yet in force because it has not been ratified the remaining eight nuclear states: China, Egypt, North Korea, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.
The Vienna-based UN Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation has a worldwide network of monitoring stations to detect nuclear testing.
One of the first steps to outlaw nuclear testing came in 1963 with the Limited Test Ban Treaty, signed by three of the then four nuclear states (the UK, the U.S. and the Soviet), which pledged to stop detonations in the air, underwater or in space.
France continued atmospheric tests until 1974 and China until 1980.
Devices were normally detonated on towers, from balloons or dropped by airplanes over the sea or on islands.
These explosions spew huge amounts of radiation in the atmosphere which can be spread for miles around and cause devastating health and environmental problems for years to come.
Underground nuclear testing was still allowed under the treaty, with the Soviet Union doing so until 1990, the UK up to 1991 and the U.S. until 1992.
The test was also denounced by China, the North's closest ally, where border residents were evacuated from homes after being hit by tremors.
Beijing said the blast was carried out in defiance of the international community and urged North Korea to refrain from acts that might worsen tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg says the test undermined international security and called on Kim Jong Un to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes 'in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner'.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond described the test as a 'provocation' and a 'grave' breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Hammond wrote on Twitter: 'If North Korean H-bomb test reports are true, it is a grave breach of UNSC (UN Security Council) resolutions and a provocation which I condemn without reservation.'
U.S. government experts do not believe the device was a hydrogen bomb, but said it would take several days to determine exactly what kind of nuclear device Pyongyang set off. A variety of sensors, including 'sniffer planes,' have been tasked with collecting evidence.
South Korean officials and analysts also questioned whether Wednesday's explosion was a test of a full-fledged hydrogen device, pointing to the fact that it was roughly as powerful as North Korea's last atomic test in 2013.
Stocks across the world fell for a fifth consecutive day as the North Korea tension added to a growing list of geopolitical worries and China fuelled fears about its economy by allowing the yuan to weaken further.
No countries were given advance warning of a nuclear test, South Korea's intelligence service said, according to lawmakers briefed by intelligence officials.
Reading a typically propaganda-heavy statement, the anchor on North Korean state television confirmed that a 'miniaturised' hydrogen bomb had been tested - news which was met with celebration in North Korea (pictured)
Japan's Defense Minister Gen Nakatani (centre) arrives at the Prime Minister's official residence in Tokyo following reports of the detonation
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters at his official residence in Tokyo. He strongly criticised the actions of North Korea and Kim Jong-Un
HUNDREDS OF TIMES MORE POWERFUL THAN HIROSHIMA: HOW HYDROGEN BOMBS CAN VAPORISE CITIES WITH TEMPERATURES AS HOT AS THE SUN
A hydrogen bomb can be up to 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic weapon that devastated Hiroshima in 1945.
The centre of an H-bomb blast can reach many millions of degrees centigrade – as hot as the Sun – vaporizing nearly all matter in its path.
While an atomic bomb uses just nuclear fission (the splitting of atoms), an H-bomb uses fission as a first-stage detonation to set off a fusion reaction (combining of atoms), generating incredible amounts of energy.
'Think what's going on inside the sun,' says Takao Takahara, professor of international politics and peace research at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo.
'In theory, the process is potentially infinite. The amount of energy is huge.'
A mushroom cloud produced by the first explosion by the Americans of a hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the South Pacific in 1952. H-bombs are hundreds of times more powerful than the Hiroshima blast
The biggest H-bomb blast to date was the Soviet Union's 'Tsar Bomba' which exploded in the Arctic with a force of 57 megatons.
The power of Hiroshima, by contrast, was just 10-15 kilotons, but nonetheless killed 200,000 people.
Both the A-bomb and H-bomb use radioactive material like uranium and plutonium for the explosive material, meaning both produce large amounts of radiation.
The technology of the hydrogen bomb is more sophisticated, and once attained, is a greater threat.
They can be made small enough to fit on a head of an intercontinental missile, making North Korea's pursuit of the device all the more worrying.
But the H-bomb requires more technology in control and accuracy because of the greater amount of energy involved.
The 'perfect' test - which took place at the Punggye-ri test site (pictured) - marks a major step in North Korea's nuclear development and is bound to cause considerable anxiety to neighbouring countries
Experts believe North Korea may have just experimented with a 'boosted' hybrid device that mixed a hydrogen isotope in a normal atomic fission bomb. These devices are compared in the graphic above
The hydrogen bomb is in fact already the global standard for the five nations with the greatest nuclear capabilities: the US, Russia, France, the UK and China.
Other nations may also either have it or may be working on it despite a worldwide effort to contain such proliferation.
The first U.S. test of an H-bomb was on November 1, 1952 in the Marshall Islands, a chain in the Pacific Ocean.
The crew of a Japanese fishing boat that unknowingly went into the waters near the nuclear testing of one test got acute radiation sickness.
Since the 1960s, nuclear tests have gone underground to reduce radioactive fallout.
The hydrogen bomb was never dropped on any targets.
In previous such tests, Pyongyang had notified China, Russia and the United States beforehand, they said.
North Korea has been under UN Security Council sanctions since it first tested an atomic device in 2006 and could face additional measures. The Security Council was holding an emergency meeting to weigh what steps it could take.
It said North Korea's actions were a 'clear violation' of the four previous sanctions 'and therefore a clear threat to international peace and security continues to exist'.
However, South Korea's spy agency said the blast from North Korea's device produced an explosive yield of just six kilotons, even smaller than Hiroshima's.
The chilling truth: Kim COULD press the nuclear button
By John Everard, former British Ambassador to North Korea
The pressing question the world is now asking is if North Korea did develop a hydrogen bomb, would they ever use it? Is Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un really that dangerous?
In what now seems a chilling New Year message, he threatened 'a merciless sacred war of justice' if North Korea suffered the slightest provocation from its several enemies.
Might 'sacred war' involve using nuclear weapons, and perhaps a hydrogen bomb (if North Korea really has one)? We just don't know. What we do know is that in the space of a week the world is already a more dangerous place.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (pictured) threatened 'a merciless sacred war of justice' if North Korea suffered the slightest provocation from its several enemies
'Let the world look up to the strong, self-reliant nuclear-armed state,' Kim said in a statement today (pictured, Korean artillery units taking part in a firing contest)
Right now, geologists and nuclear scientists will be poring over the seismic data from North Korea, desperately trying to work out whether the device that caused an explosion with a magnitude of 5.1 yesterday morning really was — as the North Koreans claim — a hydrogen bomb.
But to an extent, whatever they discover doesn't really matter. It is quite worrying enough that North Korea has 'traditional' fission-based nuclear weapons. Although the blast from these is less than from a hydrogen bomb, would it really matter whether a city is blasted into rubble or into dust?
In any case, if the North Koreans don't have an H-bomb yet, they will certainly keep trying to develop one. And if it could be 'militarised' so that it can be carried by a missile launched from a submarine (and that's a big 'if') then the unthinkable — such as an attack on one of the big cities on the Western coast of America — becomes a real possibility.
Test launches by North Korea of submarine-borne missiles have so far ended in failure, but they won't fail for ever. If and when they do succeed, and if they manage to build a sufficiently small nuclear warhead to fit on a missile, then they might be able to threaten anywhere from Seattle to San Diego with nuclear attack.
We are probably not at that stage yet, but the North Koreans will continue to strive towards it.
As the former British ambassador to North Korea, I was in Pyongyang when they began their nuclear testing programme in 2006, in the face of almost total international opposition.
John Everard, a former British Ambassador to North Korea, says the country is dangerous whether it does or does not have a H-bomb (pictured, a mass rally in Pyongyang to mark Kim New Year Address)
The North Koreans are a proud and patriotic people with a genuine sense of grievance against foreign powers that, they feel, never give them a fair chance. That first test was received with great excitement and pride in the country's technical prowess. That, of course, was just what the regime wanted.
But then I saw how quickly this excitement turned to dismay as reports began to filter through — overcoming official censorship and media control — of just how much Kim's nuclear programme was costing this still desperately poor country. Three years ago, the programme's cost was estimated at around $3 billion, and it has obviously risen still further.
In a country where the capital's scrupulously clean streets do now offer restaurants and coffee shops for a wealthy elite, but where the rural poor are often short of food, that sort of money would buy an awful lot of rice. I suspect that reactions to this fourth test will go through the same phases.
So why did Kim Jong-un carry out this test? The reasons will be complex, but in essence Kim Jong-un seems, at least for now, to have decided that confrontation is going to get him more of what he wants in terms of international leverage and status than diplomatic negotiation. As North Korean television said yesterday, 'the way to peace does not lie across a dirty conference table'.
There may, however, be good reason for his bellicose confidence. Pyongyang has nuclear shelters — just as Britain did during the tensest days of the Cold War.
Famously, Pyongyang's deep metro system was built to double as just such a collection of shelters. Every now and then, the city's obedient population are herded into them in yet another rehearsal for a nuclear attack.
Three years ago, North Korea's nuclear programme cost around $3 billion, and it has risen still further (pictured, leader Kim Jong-un)
Are these shelters for the general population big enough? Perhaps. More importantly, are they deep enough to survive a nuclear blast? Nobody knows.
What we do know, though, is that North Korea's leadership have access to a deep tunnel complex that would make the Tora Bora tunnels of Afghanistan — where Osama bin Laden is said to have hidden after the 9/11 attacks — look like a winter sink-hole in the Home Counties.
The North Korean leadership has had years to prepare for an attack. These tunnels will almost certainly be big enough and deep enough for the country's political elite to survive one or more nuclear blasts.
The truly worrying thing, then, is that if Kim Jong-un believes he can survive a nuclear attack or counter-attack, then he may well be willing to press his own nuclear button. That was bad enough when he just had a nuclear bomb; it would be worse should he now have access to the more powerful H-bomb.
It seems that he is prepared to risk even his relationship with China, North Korea's only ally and a vital economic partner, in order to develop ever more powerful weapons of mass destruction.
Only three months ago, relations between the two countries seemed warm and friendly, with China — which has always rather soft-peddled when it comes to international sanctions against North Korea — sending one of its most senior politicians to the celebrations in Pyongyang to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Ruling Workers' Party.
'The truly worrying thing, then, is that if Kim Jong-un (pictured) believes he can survive a nuclear attack or counter-attack, then he may well be willing to press his own nuclear button,' writes Everard
The Chinese went out of their way to sound supportive — making all the right noises about economic co-operation and increased levels of aid.
What was left unsaid, however, was the very clear political subtext — that in return for this increased economic support, China, a member of the UN Security Council and therefore opposed to nuclear proliferation, expected a level of control over North Korea's behaviour, particularly when it came to its nuclear programme.
For two months, it seemed as if Kim Jong-un was happy to go along with this, even arranging for his favourite home-grown girl group, the Moranbong Band, to embark on an official tour of China.
But on the very day the girls departed, Kim Jong-un announced, albeit to a disbelieving world, that North Korea had developed an H-bomb. (Those shocked by yesterday's test reports can't say they weren't warned.)
Now, he has escalated tensions still further by claiming to have tested the bomb, again without giving the Chinese any advance warning at all (although the North Koreans had carefully given the Chinese notice of their previous tests).
In a terse statement, the Chinese confirmed this lack of notification yesterday, going on to pledge their co-operation with the international community in its efforts to rid the entire Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons (which means the North — there have been no nuclear weapons in South Korea for decades).
The Chinese are clearly and understandably very angry. They don't want Kim Jong-un's provocative behaviour to prompt the Americans to increase their military presence in South Korea.
China does not want Kim Jong-un's (pictured during tribute to North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung) provocative behaviour to prompt the Americans to increase their military presence in South Korea
They know that if a shooting war ever restarted on the Korean peninsula, the North Koreans would invoke their alliance with China to ask for Chinese military support. There would be no enthusiasm in Beijing for this.
Neither do the Chinese want North Korea's policy of aggressive confrontation to disturb the already delicate political and military balance in this increasingly territorial part of the world.
It's notable that relations between South Korea and Japan, both close U.S. allies, have grown notably warmer in recent months, which will not have pleased China, which hopes for a loosening, not a tightening, of ties between the Asian democracies.
It may be that this latest alarm will blow over, but we can be sure that Kim Jong-un's scientists will continue to try to develop both a hydrogen bomb and the means to deliver it.
If they ever succeed, the world will immediately become a much more dangerous place.
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