Elio Z '20

North Korea: Testing the Limits


On Wednesday January 6, 2016, North Korea announced a successful hydrogen bomb test. This test was performed at Sungjibaegam and occurred on Tuesday at 8:30 P.M. The test also appeared to cause an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 that was east-southeast from the test site. This is concerning news because of the hostile relations between the United States and North Korea. On a North Korean television channel, a news anchor stated that “there can neither be suspension of nuclear development, nor nuclear dismantlement, unless the U.S. rolls back its vicious and hostile policy towards North Korea.” So the United Nations Security Council held a closed door meeting discussing potential ways to address this issue.

But on January 13 2016, North Korea stated that “the scientists and technicians of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] are in high spirit to detonate H-bombs capable of wiping out the whole territory of the US all at once.” These bomb threats have put the U.S. military on high guard, and U.S. troops stationed at South Korea have been instructed to keep close watch on North Korea. The UN Security Council has condemned North Korea’s bomb tests.

Some, however, have debated over the validity of the test claims. Norsar, a Norway-based research group that monitors seismic readings, found that the blast was equivalent to less than 10,000 tons of TNT and was far less powerful than the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Other research institutes say that based on similar evidence, the test does not seem like a hydrogen bomb, although it is too early to conclusively determine the truth. Nonetheless, this statement caught the world’s attention, which could potentially be North Korea’s motive for lying about or exaggerating the truth.


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