North Korea hails successful test of nuclear bomb

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Pyongyang triggered a new escalation of tensions in July after it carried out two successful tests of an ICBM, the Hwasong-14, bringing much of the USA mainland within range.

Kim ordered his scientists to successfully conclude the final-stage research and development to make the state nuclear-force flawless, KCNA said.

US monitors measured a 6.3-magnitude tremor near the North's main testing site, which South Korean experts said was five to six times stronger than that from the 10-kiloton test carried out a year ago.

South Korea's spy agency recently told lawmakers that the North remains ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test any time.

The test was carried out at 12.29pm local time at the Punggye-ri site where North Korea has conducted almost all of its past nuclear tests.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a test "absolutely unacceptable".

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North Korea says it has developed a more advanced nuclear weapon that can be loaded on to a ballistic missile. Yonhap says the quake took place in Kilju county where its nuclear test site Punggye-Ri is located.

The new alleged hydrogen bomb, the report said, not only features "enormous destructive power" but can also be used to detonate a "super powerful" electromagnetic pulse.

The announcement from Pyongyang came a few hours after worldwide seismic agencies detected a manmade natural disaster near the North's test site, which Japanese and South Korean officials said was around 10 times more powerful than the tremor picked up after its last nuclear test a year ago.

According to a statement from South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, the quake is "presumed" to be the sixth nuclear test ever conducted by North Korea.

Questions remain over whether Pyongyang has successfully miniaturised its weapons, and whether it has a working H-bomb, but KCNA quoted Kim as saying that "all components of the H-bomb were 100 percent domestically made", claims that have not been independently verified. Last month, North Korea fired a potentially nuclear-capable mid-range missile over northern Japan.

"Nuclear EMP has the demonstrated potential to disrupt, damage, or destroy a wide variety of electrical and electronic equipment", according to the US Department of Energy.

Current information did not definitively indicate that a thermonuclear weapon had been tested "but it appears to be a likely possibility at this point", she said.

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North Korea conducted its fifth test previous year in September.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said North Korea's claim to have tested a hydrogen bomb "deserves the strongest condemnation".

A man watches a TV news report about a possible nuclear test conducted by North Korea.

The move could give South Korea more independence from the United States to react to the threat from North Korea, analysts say.

South Korea's Yonhap News agency says a magnitude 5.6 quake has occurred in North Korea. The North regularly threatens to destroy the South and its main ally, the United States.

According to the White House statement, the two leaders reaffirmed the importance of close cooperation between the United States, Japan, and South Korea in the face of the growing threat from North Korea.

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