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North Korea conducts 'biggest atomic test yet' as Pyongyang hails 'nuclear warhead explosion'

10:55, Friday, 09 September, 2016
North Korea conducts 'biggest atomic test yet' as Pyongyang hails 'nuclear warhead explosion'

North Korea says it now has the power to mount a nuclear warhead on ballistic missiles that could be aimed at its enemies after conducting its biggest nuclear test yet, an explosion compared to the Hiroshima blast.

The test, the country's fifth, was condemned by South Korea as "maniacal recklessness" and prompted the US to warn of "serious consequences."

"Scientists (from)... the DPRK carried out a nuclear explosion test for the judgment of the power of a nuclear warhead newly studied and manufactured by them at the northern nuclear test ground," a TV announcer said, using the North's official name.

The test will also enable the North to produce "as many as it wants (of) a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power", she said.The North did not say exactly when and where the test took place. But the announcement came hours after Seoul said Pyongyang had staged another atomic test in its Punggye-ri nuclear test site near the border with China.

The latest test, with an estimated yield of 10 kilotons, is the largest-ever staged by Pyongyang, Seoul's military said. The North's third nuclear test, staged in February 2013, was previously considered the most powerful to date, with a yield of six to nine kilotons.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, in Laos after a summit of Asian leaders ended there on Thursday, said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was showing "maniacal recklessness" in completely ignoring the world's call to abandon his pursuit of nuclear weapons.

US President Barack Obama said any provocative actions by North Korea would have "serious consequences" .

Obama had been briefed on board Air Force One by National Security Adviser Susan Rice about reported seismic activity near North Korea's nuclear test site earlier on Friday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Obama reiterated the unbreakable U.S. commitment to the security of its allies in Asia and around the world, Earnest said.

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