Shortly after reports of seismic disturbances near South Korea began rolling in Tuesday evening, North Korea announced that it conducted its first test of a "miniaturized" hydrogen bomb.
If true, the country would be the sixth to have such a weapon, landing it among the ranks of the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China, according to NPR.
Scroll over the graphics below to see North Korea's nuclear capacities compared to those of other countries.
Many are skeptical of North Korea's claims, but "whatever the North detonated in its fourth nuclear test, another round of tough international sanctions looms for the defiant, impoverished country," writes Foster Klug with the Associated Press.
Below are articles that explain the power behind hydrogen bombs, North Korea's nuclear capacities and reactions to the country's announcement:
TOKYO — The announcement Wednesday from North Korea that it had carried out a nuclear test brought to the front lines of global attention a phrase not often heard since the Cold War — "the H-bomb."
As opposed to the atomic bomb, the kind dropped on Japan in the closing days of World War II, the hydrogen bomb, or so-called "superbomb," can be far more powerful — experts say, by 1,000 times or more.
North Korea's first three nuclear tests, from 2006 to 2013, were A-bombs on roughly the same scale as the ones used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which together killed more than 200,000 people. Pyongyang announced Wednesday that it had detonated its first hydrogen bomb; while seismic data supported the claim of a large explosion, there was no immediate way to confirm the type.
— Associated Press
Read more about the H-bomb.
North Korea's stunning announcement that it had tested a powerful hydrogen bomb would be a dramatic advance in its quest to build a bomb and mount it on a missile that could threaten the U.S. mainland. But South Korea's spy agency thinks the estimated explosive yield from the explosion was much smaller than what even a failed hydrogren bomb detonation would produce. A timeline of some key developments in North Korea's nuclear ambitions:
— Aug. 31, 1998: North Korea fires a rocket over Japan and into the 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 4,100 miles, but it fizzles after liftoff, according to U.S. and South Korean officials. North Korea has never acknowledged the launch.
— Oct. 9, 2006: North Korea conducts its first underground nuclear test blast, after citing "extreme threat of a nuclear war" from United States.
— Associated Press
Read more about North Korea's nuclear developments.
Comments from around the world on North Korea's announcement that it conducted its fourth nuclear test, and its first of a hydrogen bomb, on Wednesday:
Park Geun-hye, South Korean president:
"It's not only grave provocation of our national security, but also an act that threatens our lives and future. It's also a direct challenge to world peace and stability."
A North Korean television anchor:
"The Republic (referring to North Korea), as a responsible nuclear weapon holder, will neither use nuclear weapons first nor transfer (nuclear) related means and technology under any circumstances as already declared unless aggressive, hostile forces infringe upon our autonomy. There can neither be suspension of nuclear development nor nuclear dismantlement unless the U.S. rolls back its vicious hostile policy toward North Korea."
— Associated Press
Read other reactions to North Korea's announcement.
SEOUL, South Korea — Soon after the ground shook around its nuclear testing facility, North Korea trumpeted its first hydrogen bomb test — a powerful, self-proclaimed "H-bomb of justice" that would mark a major and unanticipated advance for its still-limited nuclear arsenal.
Pyongyang's announcement Wednesday was met with widespread skepticism, but whatever the North detonated in its fourth nuclear test, another round of tough international sanctions looms for the defiant, impoverished country.
The test likely pushed Pyongyang's scientists and engineers closer to their goal of building a warhead small enough to place on a missile that can reach the U.S. mainland. But South Korea's spy agency thought the estimated explosive yield from the explosion was much smaller than what even a failed hydrogen bomb detonation would produce.
Read more about North Korea's nuclear test.
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