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North Korea Tests Another Nuclear Missile

North Korea recently conducted its fifth underground nuclear test. The test which was carried out on Friday, 9th of September, 2016 is the fifth of such that the country has carried out in recent times, the others being dated on 9th October, 2006, 25th May, 2009, 12th February, 2013 and most recently on the 6th of January, 2016 before the Friday test. All the tests have been carried out at the Punggye-ri test site. The most recent test which has been termed the most powerful yet, based on the quake magnitude of the test, is raising many concerns especially in its southern counterpart, South Korea.

Table: Showing magnitude of tests over time

Test Date

Quake magnitude

September 2016

5.3

January 2016

5.1

February 2013

5.1

May 2009

4.7

October 2006

4.3

Source: bbc.com

A sixth test may be coming soon

According to spokesmen from the South Korean military, the Northern country is capable of mounting a sixth test at anytime. According to the Yonhap news agency, which is South Korea’s biggest news network, a South Korean military source has stated that Pyongyang, the South Korean capital will be annihilated if any sign of a nuclear attack is shown  by the North.

Earlier in the year North Korea had claimed that it was now capable of nuclear warfare, a situation which is very worrying for South Korea, especially considering the hostilities that have remained ongoing between both countries. Many experts, such as Stephen Evans of the BBC in Seoul, have stated doubts over the likelihood of North Korea to carry out another test soon, especially since they would need time to analyse the results from the previous test. However, the rapidity of the tests has noticeably increased from years to months and it is likely the next is probably weeks away.

UN Security council prepares further sanctions

The UN Security Council, according to reports, is set to place further sanctions on North Korea. The likelihood of this having an effect is doubtful as the Kim Jong-un led country has called previous sanctions “laughable”. Experts have intimated that the only way to limit the country will be to enlist the help of its major ally and economic partner, China. The North Korean Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-ho is reported to have arrived Beijing this morning, Monday, 12th September, so it is probable that the Chinese government has decided to get involved. In recent times, the Chinese government has been seen to reduce its tolerance of the excessive of the North Korean government and its leader.

The tensions rise

Meanwhile, in Washington and in Seoul, the tension is high and intelligence operatives are keeping close tabs according to a government official in the South Korean military. The same view was reiterated by Moon Sang-gyun the Defence Ministry spokesperson who spoke to reporters over the weekend. For Koreans in both countries, the timing could not be worse, especially coming so soon after South Korea’s threat to “reduce the North to ashes”.

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