North Korea’s Latest Bomb Test Is A Step In A Terrifying Direction

by Lilli Petersen
ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

The ongoing tension between North Korea and the United States is amping up even more as of Sept. 3. On Saturday evening, The New York Times reported that North Korea said it had tested a hydrogen bomb meant to be launched by missile, another step towards nuclear armament. The bomb is reportedly the first by the reclusive nation to surpass the destructive capabilities of the 1945 bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII.

The test is North Korea's sixth test of a nuclear weapon overall, and the first carried out during the Trump administration. An underground blast was felt in both neighboring South Korea, as well as China. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated the magnitude of the vibration as the equivalent of a 6.3 earthquake, and a following vibration — projected to have been a collapse caused by the initial explosion — measured in at 4.1.

North Korea claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb, which is a thermonuclear weapon more powerful than an atomic bomb, which is a fission weapon. Both the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII were atomic bombs, with the equivalence of 15 and 20 kilotons of TNT respectively, according to LiveScience.

The bright side? North Korea is notorious for talking up their military capability, and some experts doubt that they've managed to put a hydrogen bomb together at all, per the Times. The reclusive nation has claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb before, in Jan. 2016, and experts doubted it then, too.

After the early-Sunday tests, which were apparently conducted at about 3:30 AM UTC per the USGS, President Trump tweeted a warning to North Korea.

The tests are the latest step in some worrying developments between the United States and North Korea.

In early August, the two nations got into a verbal standoff after a series of North Korean bomb tests. On Aug. 8, President Donald Trump warned that the United States would meet any continued North Korean threats with “fire and fury,” to which North Korea responded by leveling threats at Guam, a U.S. territory in the Western Pacific. And just last week, North Korea fired a missile over Japan, the first successful launch over Japan since 1998.

North Korea is believed to have missiles capable of reaching the United States mainland, but the question has been whether or not they could put a weapon in them — the weight of a warhead would be a factor in how far any missile can go. If the nation has managed to develop a weapon capable of being mounted on a missile, it would be a major step for them in overcoming this obstacle.

In the meantime, President Trump said via Twitter on Sunday afternoon that he and his military advisers would be meeting to discuss the latest developments regarding North Korea.

Here's hoping that things are still able to calm down.