The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) tested a nuclear weapon on Sunday, September 3rd, which was its sixth test, according to the New York Times and the first time the country’s claim to have tested a Hydrogen (thermonuclear) bomb might actually be true. While some analysts doubt the truth of this last claim, or at a minimum remain unable to verify it as true, Sunday’s blast reportedly set off tremors felt around the region, indicating a higher yield than previous tests, and the possibility that the North did in-fact test an H-bomb.
If the North did test a Hydrogen bomb, or even just a device with a boosted yield that would indicate at least some thermonuclear material inside of it, that would mean it is now in possession of a weapon far more powerful than those (fission-stye) devices used by the United States to attack Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
To make matters worse, the rogue nation also launched a ballistic missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido early last week. While worrying in and of itself — that the DPRK is launching missiles over the heads of our allies, metaphorically spitting in our faces in diplomatic terms — the more pressing concern is the possibility that the North might soon marry the two technologies, the ballistic missile and the thermonuclear warhead. While it has shown no sign that it has accomplished this goal, we should not doubt that it wants to and could be able to in the future.
To date, this author has not banged the drums of alarm over the possibility of a war between the United States and North Korea. Yes, I have stated that the spark of a possible world war lies on the Korean peninsula, but I have not judged it likely that North Korean bombs would start falling on America anytime soon. Rather, I have judged their provocations mostly as attempts to garner attention and thus diplomatic concessions of some sort from the United States and the rest of the world.