White House: We Don't Think That Was an H-Bomb

Early analysis suggests North Korea is exaggerating, says US
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2016 1:12 PM CST
North Korean soldiers stand in a field in Sinuiju, North Korea, as seen from across the border in Dandong, China.   (Chinatopix via AP)
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(Newser) – A sentence sure to please anyone worried about the idea of Kim Jong Un having an H-bomb in his arsenal: White House spokesman Josh Earnest says initial analysis results are "not consistent with North Korean claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test,” reports the Washington Post. It could take weeks to know for sure, but the White House seems to think that North Korea is exaggerating about its claim of a successful test. Even if it's not an H-bomb, however, the North could still have tested a lesser atom bomb, or perhaps even an atom bomb "boosted" by a fusion ignition. The latter would be nowhere near as powerful as an H-bomb but still significantly more lethal than a regular atom bomb.

Earnest said any such test would be a “provocative and a flagrant violation of UN Security Council sanctions," reports the Hill. The UN itself called an emergency meeting in the wake of the North's claims and announced that the test, whatever it was, amounted to a "clear violation" of previous sanctions, reports AP. As a result, it's readying yet more sanctions—the fifth round since Pyongyang's first nuclear test in 2006. “Regardless of whether this is a hydrogen test or a normal, vanilla device, this is a very serious provocation,” said James Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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