North Korea conducted their fifth nuclear test in their act of defiance against the international community's calls to halt its nuclear and missile programs, marking the second time they conducted such test this year since January 2016, when the Korean Peninsula did their fourth nuclear test.
North Korea confirmed the test four hours after seismic waves from a magnitude-5 artificial earthquake were detected around 0930 hours local time near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. The North said through its state-run media that the successful test has advanced its technology of mounting a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile to a higher level.
The South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff analyzed the nuclear test as the North's biggest test to date with the device giving an explosive yield reaching 10 kilotons, four more than what they did last January.
After the man-made tremor, South Korea' military held an emergency video conference headed by JCS Chairman Lee Sun-jin and placed its military forces on full alert so Seoul can react "sternly and strongly" in case of further threats.
Meanwhile, President Park Geun-hye will convene a meeting of high-ranking officials to discuss follow-up measures to respond to the Korean Peninsula's fifth nuclear test. The meeting is to be convened shortly after her arrival from her eight-day trip to Russia, China, and Laos. During her visit, the president called for a stronger unity against North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. It will be attended by the ministers of defense, foreign affairs and unification, and senior presidential secretaries in charge of security and foreign policy.
Close cooperation between South Korea, the United States, and Japan will take center stage in tackling North Korea's fifth nuclear test, which came as the deepening US-China relationship threatens to weaken efforts to pressure Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program.
The test occurred on Friday had coincided when members of the key six-party denuclearization talks came together at the G20 Summit in China and East Asia Summit in Laos to denounce North Korea's nuclear program. Despite problems with China, the surprise test showed at least Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo were determined to deal with the latest threats from North Korea. Following the test, the three countries asked for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to swiftly address the provocation.
Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo said on Friday that the South Korean government will not rule out the possibility that North Korea may carry out another nuclear test. During a meeting at the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the National Assembly today, a lawmaker underlined the need to acknowledge the grave reality that North Korea's nuclear weapons program can't be destroyed with the current sanctions and pressure and it's time for a new strategy. In response, Hong said the government is fully aware that it failed to stop the North from advancing its nuclear weapons technology despite various efforts. Also, the government will consider diverse options to deal with the current situation.
Source: Arirang News