North Korea stateÂ news agency KCNA announced today thatÂ Kim Jong-un lauchedÂ the test at 10am local time on Wednesday (1.30am GMT) as part of the âall-out charge to bring earlier the final victory of the revolutionary cause of Juche (North Korean ideology)â.
The news could not be immediately verified but the United States Geological Survey confirmedÂ a 5.1 magnitude quake that South Korea said was 30 miles from the Punggye-ri site where its neighbour has conducted nuclear experiments in the past.
A Government statement released by KCNA hailed it as a âworld startling eventâ that marked âa higher stage of the DPRK’s development of nuclear forceâ.
âIt was confirmed that the H-bomb test conducted in a safe and perfect manner had no adverse impact on the ecological environment,â the statement continued.Â âThe DPRK is a genuine peace-loving state which has made all efforts to protect peace on the Korean Peninsula and security in the region from the US vicious nuclear war scenario.”
âThe DPRK, a responsible nuclear weapons state, will neither be the first to use nuclear weapons nor transfer relevant means and technology under any circumstances as already declared as long as the hostile forces for aggression do not encroach upon its sovereignty.â
âThis is the self-defensive measure we have to take to defend our right to live in the face of the nuclear threats and blackmail by the United States and to guarantee the security of the Korean Peninsula,â a female North Korean announcer said, reading the statement on Central Television, the state-run network.
“Heaven and earth are shaking because of this historic event,” she added. “It is our legal right as a sovereign nation to own hydrogen bomb for justice as we stand against the U.S., which is the culprit of invasion and who is looking for every opportunity to attack us with its vast pool of murderous nuclear weapons.”
China, one of Pyongyangâs few historic allies,Â reported that it didn’t know anything about the weapon and said it firmly opposed the action and would work towards denuclearisation with the international community.
The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, was in Beijing today on a two-day visit and said he and his Chinese counterpart had agreed to work with the UN Security Council on a ârobust international responseâ.
âIf a nuclear device has been detonated by North Korea, this is a grave breach of UN Security Council resolutions and a provocation which I condemn without reservation,â he added.
âIt underlines the very real threat that North Korea represents to regional and international security.Â We will be working with other UN Security Council members to ensure the international community responds urgently and decisively to this latest activity.â
South Korea also promised to take all the necessary measures, including possibly seeking further sanctions, to ensure North Koreaâs nuclear development was stopped.
âOur government strongly condemns North Korea ignoring repeated warnings from us and the international community and pushing ahead with the fourth nuclear test, which clearly violated the UN resolutions,â Cho Tae-yong, a senior security official at the South Korean presidential office said.
U.S. officials said it could take days to verify North Korea’s latest claim.
“While we cannot confirm these claims at this time, we condemn any violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said late Tuesday. “We have consistently made clear that we will not accept it as a nuclear state.”