N Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test

Seoul, South Korea: North Korea conducted its 5th nuclear test on Friday.  The state TV said, the North now acquired the capability of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets. It also said the test had no leakage of nuclear material and no environmental impact. According to international agencies this is likely the North’s biggest test so far.

Earlier South Korean officials expressed apprehensions over the event after meteorological agencies reported a surface level seismic tremors near the North Korea’s nuclear testing site ‘Pyunggye-ri’, as the country was celebrating its Foundation Day.

US, Chinese and European agencies have reported that the tremors were recorded at 0030 GMT. European agencies and US Geological Surveys have measured the tremor at a magnitude of 5.3.

South Korean meteorological agency official said, “The artificial 5.3 magnitude of earthquake in the North Korea is likely a nuclear test”, according to the news reports.

North Korea has been hit by 5 sets of UN sanctions since it has first tested a nuclear device in the year 2006. It has also conducted a series of missile tests this year in defiance of UN sanctions.

South Korea’s joint chief of staff said, “Today at around 9:30 am, we detected an artificial earthquake wave at 5.3 magnitude in the area of North Korea’s Punggye-ri.

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said, “such nuclear tests could not be tolerated”. Japan’s foreign minister lodged protests and Tokyo also sent 2 military jets to begin their search by measuring the radiation in the area. The China Earthquake Network Center also said the tremors were a suspected explosion. China’s Environment Ministry has begun radiation monitoring along its border with North Korea in Northeast China.

Initial analysis of North Korea’s tests in January estimated a yield of just 6 kilotonnes. The South Korea’s news agency reported that the South’s Army believed the seismic event indicated a blast with a 10 kilotonne yield, which is the largest test ever conducted by the secretive North.

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