Amidst global recriminations, North Korea said Sunday it tested a hydrogen bomb which it can mount on a missile, declaring its biggest-ever nuclear detonation a “perfect success”.
The announcement sparked a strong rebuke from President Donald Trump who slammed its actions as “dangerous” to the US.
Pyongyang residents threw their arms aloft in triumph as a jubilant television newsreader hailed the “unprecedentedly large” blast.
It “marked a very significant occasion in attaining the final goal of completing the state nuclear force”, she added.
But world reaction to the country’s sixth nuclear test was swift and angry. China rebuked its ally and began emergency monitoring for radiation at its border with the North.
Trump said on Twitter Pyongyang’s “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the US”.
He branded the North “a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success”.
Hours before the test the North released images of leader Kim Jong-Un at the Nuclear Weapons Institute, inspecting what it said was a miniaturised H-bomb that could be fitted onto an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
China lost no time in issuing “strong condemnation” of the test, which overshadowed the opening of the BRICS summit in Xiamen by leader Xi Jinping.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described it as “absolutely unacceptable” while Russia’s foreign ministry expressed “strongest condemnation” but urged calm.
In Seoul, President Moon Jae-In called for new United Nations sanctions to “completely isolate North Korea” and said the South would discuss deploying “the strongest strategic assets of the US military”.
That could be taken as a reference to tactical nuclear weapons, which were withdrawn from South Korea by Washington in 1991.
The US and South Korean military chiefs spoke by telephone and agreed the test was “a provocation that cannot be overlooked”, Seoul’s defence ministry said in a statement.