North Korea Announces Successful Hydrogen Bomb Nuclear Test
Korea Chair Snapshot
January 6, 2016
- The latest test, coming two days before Kim Jong-un's birthday, demonstrates that North Korea is not building a couple of bombs in the basement, it wants the most modern, sophisticated, and lethal nuclear weapons program it can achieve.
- If the hydrogen bomb claims are true, then this is beyond the capabilities that the expert community thought the North could achieve. The battery of international sanctions after three nuclear tests are not delaying the development of the program.
- All eyes will be on China to see whether this nuclear test near the Chinese border will finally compel a change in Beijing's support of the regime. While it might lead to some short-term titration of assistance, it is unlikely to cause China to abandon the North.
- This is the fourth nuclear test by North Korea since 2006, and the third during the Obama administration.
- The international community will harshly condemn the test and move to apply more sanctions but it is unclear what yet another UN resolution will do to deter advances in the program.
- The nuclear test flies in the face of recent efforts at inter-Korean dialogue, Japanese initiatives, and overtures by China to the reclusive regime, demonstrating the political will of a regime that seems intent on establishing itself as a nuclear weapons power before re-engaging with any of the regional powers, including the United States.