North Korea’s Sixth Nuclear Test Is Its Biggest

Di Vincenzo Santo*

(Da Stratfor – 3 settembre 2017)

Pyongyang. North Korea appears to have conducted a sixth nuclear test shortly after noon local time on Sept. 3. Initial reports from South Korea say the quake connected to the test measured 5.6 on the Richter scale, larger than the last test, which measured a magnitude of 5.1. Subsequent reports from the U.S. Geological Survey agency said the blast reached a magnitude of 6.3, indicating a significant increase in yield from any of the North’s previous nuclear tests.

The test follows Pyongyang’s claim that it had completed the miniaturization of a hydrogen bomb capable of being fitted to an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea has repeatedly claimed perfection of hydrogen bomb technology, producing weapons that employ a more powerful fusion reaction, as opposed to the usual fission reaction of North Korea’s more primitive nuclear weapons. This is an important component of the North’s deterrent strategy: It feels it must showcase that it can do significant damage to a city on the U.S. mainland to change U.S. calculus on military action or attempted regime change in North Korea. (…) It is still too early to determine just what Pyongyang tested, whether an enhanced traditional nuclear weapon, or some small-scale hydrogen bomb, but it is clear that the North has not slowed the pace of its nuclear and missile program despite international sanctions, condemnation and warnings from the United States. From Pyongyang’s perspective, it has a narrow window in these final stages of testing to complete a program before the United States amasses the political will and international support to carry out preventive action.

If the test is confirmed as a high yield hydrogen bomb, it would mark a very significant development for North Korea’s ability to deter U.S. and allied military action. The power of a hydrogen bomb means that the North Koreans would still be able to inflict significant damage to the United States without the need for their missiles to be particularly accurate. (…)

Kim Jong Un assiste al lancio di un missile

*Generale CA ris