North Korea says it just tested a hydrogen bomb. Here’s what we know.

Byvox

North Korea says it just tested a hydrogen bomb.

  1. A 5.1-magnitude “seismic event” was reported near North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear testing site late Tuesday evening.
  2. North Korea‘s government is claiming the event was a hydrogen bomb test. Hydrogen bombs are a more powerful type of nuclear weapon than the North has previously tested, one that North Korea first claimed to have developed in December.
  3. There is a real chance that this is a nuclear test: South Korean, Japanese, and Chinese authorities have said they believe the earthquake is manmade, and it is the same magnitude as a 2013 North Korean underground nuclear test.
  4. However, experts caution, we do not yet have conclusive evidence that the earthquake was, in fact, caused by a nuclear detonation. Nor do we yet know if it was a hydrogen bomb even if it was nuclear.

Is it a hydrogen bomb? And why would that matter?

According to top experts, it’s very plausible this was a test. “I think it is *probably* a test,”Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies , tweeted.

“DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name of North Korea] event epicenter close to test site and on 1/2 hour.”

Generally, earthquakes don’t just happen on exactly the half hour.

This isn’t yet conclusive.

It “may take a few hours to sort out the initial readings,” Daryl Kimball, the director of the Arms Control Association, writes. “Let’s wait and see,” Lewis cautions.

So we don’t yet know for sure whether it was a test, let alone specifically a hydrogen bomb.

Hydrogen bombs differ from other nuclear weapons by harnessing energy created by fusing hydrogen atoms together rather than by tearing atoms apart (atomic fission). This makes them much more powerful.

“Nuclear weapons based on fission typically have a yield of around 10 kilotons or so, while nuclear weapons employing fusion can have a yield measured in megatons. (A kiloton is 1,000 tons; a megaton is 1,000 kilotons.),” Bruce Bennett, a defense analyst at the RAND Corporation, explains in a piece for CNN published when North Korea first claimed to have developed a fusion bomb in December 2015.

It’s also possible North Korea is using a sort of in-between weapon called a “boosted” nuclear device. This involves a very small amount of fusion to “boost” the explosive capability of a fission bomb. According to Bennett, these weapons generally have a yield around 50 kilotons.

Lewis thinks that if the seismic event was a test, it was much more likely to be a boosted device rather than a full fission (or “staged”) bomb. “Maybe boosted. Definitely not a successful staged device,” he tweeted.

See also: NORTH KOREA: The pictures Kim Jong Un doesn’t want you to see

This, according to Bennett, is more consistent with North Korea’s technology level. “North Korea appears to have had a difficult time mastering even the basics of a fission weapon,” he writes. “Because some fusion is involved in such a weapon, Kim may be claiming that he has achieved a hydrogen bomb when in practice he only has a boosted weapon.” North Korea does have a long history of exaggerating its military prowess.

If this turns out to be a successful test, hydrogen or otherwise, it won’t fundamentally change the status quo in the Korean peninsula. North Korea has had nuclear weapons since 2006, and last tested one in 2013. A hydrogen bomb would be a major technological step up for the North, but would be more a change in degree than in kind in military terms.

Regardless, it would represent a significant provocation on the North’s part. Why North Korea would do this is very hard to say: The country is notoriously secretive, and so the reasons for its actions are often difficult to interpret. One reason could be extracting concessions out of its enemies: North Korea occasionally heightens military tensions with South Korea and then demands increases in aid from international actors in exchange for backing down.

Another could be domestic politics. North Korea is a country “where the leadership culture demands a powerful leader, one capable of achieving great accomplishments,” Bennett writes. “So it is not surprising that [ruler Kim Jong Un] needs to periodically demonstrate his power. His claim that he has achieved a major advance in nuclear weaponry could be just such a demonstration, focused significantly on his internal audience.”

Watch: How did North Korea get this way?

Sourcevox

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

Alien Base for Giants Discovered in the Bucegi Mountains

In the summer of 2003, in an unexplored area of the Bucegi Mountains, a team from Zero Department (a top secret section of the...

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

Secret Nazi hideout discovered deep in Argentine jungle

Archaeologists explore possible Nazi hideout deep in remote Argentine jungle: report Archaeologists in Argentina believe a collection of ruins found deep in a remote jungle...

Recognition of a Bad Mistake – Chomsky’s View on Trump

Everyone knows the elections are over. Despite the results, the outcome still disappoints many people. And they fail to show any recognition for the...

‘A serious mistake’: Read Barack Obama’s statement on President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal

Former President Barack Obama criticized President Donald Trump's decision Tuesday to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was...

Google Will Help Police to Track “ Extremist Websites ”

Google Chairman “Eric Schmidt” said that they will help the police trace “extremist websites” and that legal information on Google’s search engine will be...

Retired American Bishop Explains How The Church Invented Hell and What Religion is Really Used For

Religion is a controversial topic, and I’d like to preface this article by saying that it is not my aim to belittle or diminish...

No US airstrikes in Syria since Russia deployed S-400 systems

Both the American and Turkish air forces halted their strikes on Syrian territory around the time Russia deployed S-400 air defense complexes at the...

121 Dead: July Was the Deadliest Month in Recent History for Police Killings

Over the years, it has been difficult to tell exactly how many people have been killed by police. So many cases are swept under...