A tense 2016 lies ahead on the Korean Peninsula after a North Korean nuclear test that could mark an alarming leap forward in the country's technology. Pyongyang claims that it successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb for the first time, though experts say the Wednesday morning explosion— believed to have caused a 5.1-magnitude quake—was closer in size to North Korea's three previous nuclear tests than to a hydrogen bomb explosion, reports the Washington Post. Kim Jong Un claimed last month that the country had an H-bomb, a weapon much more powerful and harder to make than an atomic bomb, and a confirmed test would almost certainly lead to tough new sanctions against North Korea, the AP reports.
North Korean state media reported that the test of the "miniaturized" H-bomb was a "perfect success." It could be weeks before an H-bomb test can be confirmed by outside experts, who seem skeptical of Pyongyang's claims. "Given the scale, it is hard to believe this is a real hydrogen bomb," a rep from the Korea Defense and Security Forum tells Reuters. "They could have tested some middle stage kind [of device] between an A-bomb and H-bomb, but unless they come up with any clear evidence, it is difficult to trust their claim." The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that the United Nations Security Council plans to hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss the nuclear test. (At the start of 2016, Kim said he was ready for war.)