Moments after it was rocked with two shallow earthquakes, defiant North Korea led by headstrong leader Kim Jong Un revealed that it has developed a missile ready hydrogen bomb which has “great destructive power”.
The revelation by North Korea came after it tested its sixth nuclear missile with the KCNA news agency on Sunday showing Kim inspecting what it said was a hydrogen bomb that is to be loaded onto a new ICBM.
However, it is expected to be some scepticism about the claim from experts about Pyongyang’s assertion that it has mastered hydrogen technology.
Al Jazeera’s Wayne Hay, reporting from the South Korean capital Seoul, said it will be “almost impossible” for the US, South Korea and others to verify the North’s claims.
Hay said, however, that “there will be a lot of concern about it regardless of whether it is real because it clearly shows that the North Koreans are serious about the message they are trying to get across and that they are serious about taking these provocations to another level”.
A hydrogen bomb can achieve thousands of kilotons of explosive yield – massively more powerful than some 10 to 15 kilotons that North Korea’s last nuclear test in September was estimated to have produced, similar to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.