North Korea has confirmed its test of a hydrogen bomb meant for an intercontinental ballistic missile was a ‘perfect success’.

(DM) The country’s sixth nuclear test sparked a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake which was detected in the northeast of the country where North Korea’s test site Punggye-ri is located.

The hydrogen bomb test ordered by leader Kim Jong Un was a ‘perfect success’ and was a ‘meaningful’ step in completing the country’s nuclear weapons programme, state television said.

Image: REUTERS

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said in a statement its military has strengthened monitoring and readiness and is mulling a variety of possible responses that could be pushed together with its ally the U.S.

It says it detected a seismic wave from 12.34pm to 12.36pm Sunday around Punggye-ri.

The test is a direct challenge to President Donald Trump, who hours earlier had talked by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the ‘escalating’ nuclear crisis in the region.

South Korea’s weather agency and the Joint Chiefs of Staff said an artificial 5.7 magnitude quake occurred at 12.29pm local time, in Kilju, northern Hamgyong province, the site where North Korea has conducted nuclear tests in the past.

Yonhap, South Korea’s official news agency, reports the quake struck where North Korea’s nuclear test site Punggyeri is located.

Seoul officials revised their earlier estimate of 5.6 magnitude quake. The U.S. Geological Survey called the first quake an explosion with a magnitude 6.3.

The US State Department had no immediate reaction. South Korea’s presidential office said it will hold a National Security Council meeting chaired by President Moon Jae-in.

‘It is absolutely unacceptable if North Korea did force another nuclear test, and we must protest strongly,’ Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

China’s earthquake administration detected a second tremor of magnitude 4.6 in North Korea minutes after the first. It described the event as a cave-in. South Korea’s weather agency, however, said no second quake occurred.

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