The North Korean government has confirmed that it successfully carried out a test with a “miniaturized” nuclear device on Tuesday, just before 12:00 PM. This was done in direct defiance of recently expanded sanctions from the United Nations, as well as following two long-range missile launches in 2012. The isolated nation has repeatedly be ordered to abandon its nuclear weapons program, yet has threatened over the last several weeks to conduct its third test, following those in 2006 and 2009.
Both the U.S. and South Korea reported seismic activity in the North equivalent to a 4.9 magnitude earthquake, but scientist quickly confirmed that the patterns were different from a naturally occurring tremor, prompting the initial suspicion of a weapons test. The belief is that today’s detonation had a yield of at least 10 kilotons, whereas the 2006 device less than 1 kiloton, and in 2009 it was between 2 and 7 kilotons. Concerns are rising over how small North Korea is now able to build its nuclear devices, with the fear being that it is capable of making a warhead that can be mounted on a long-range missile.
In response to the U.N.’s tightened sanctions in January, the Pyongyang government warned that it would move ahead with its plans of a third test, evening threatening to have weapon capabilities of reaching its U.S. enemy. Following the confirmation of Tuesday’s test, the U.N. Security Council stated it would hold an emergency meeting the following morning, with plans to release an initial statement condemning North Korea’s actions. Likewise the Japanese government has called for its own national security council to meet on the issue, and will consider imposing its own new sanctions in response to the day’s developments.