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North Korea hails 'successful nuclear test' after widespread condemnation

Undated photo released by North Korea of a missile fired during a drill by the Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army. Photograph: (AFP)

Seoul, South Korea Sep 09, 2016, 05.08 AM (IST)
North Korea hailed its "successful" fifth nuclear test today, state-run TV said, after the explosion was described by South Korea as Pyongyang's largest-ever such blast.

"Scientists (from)... the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (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 Central Committee of the (ruling) Workers' Party of Korea sent warm congratulations to nuclear scientists... of the northern nuclear test ground on the successful nuclear warhead explosion test," she said. 

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. 

No leakage of nuclear material had occurred in the test and that there was no environmental impact, the state-run TV added. 

Obama warns of consequences 

The 5.3 magnitude earthquake, recorded around Punggye-ri nuclear test site near the border with China, triggered sharp reactions from US, China and Japan. 

US President Barack Obama, warning of "serious consequences", called the leaders of South Korea and Japan to consult after the seismic activity was detected, a White House spokesman said today. 

"The President indicated he would continue to consult our allies and partners in the days ahead to ensure provocative actions from North Korea are met with serious consequences," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Largest-ever explosion by the North: Seoul 

The latest test, with an estimated yield of 10 kilotons, is the largest-ever staged by Pyongyang, Seoul's military said. 

North Korea's man-made earthquake today emitted energy that was double that of its nuclear test in January, South Korea's meteorological agency added. 

"Energy of the magnitude 5.04 is double that of the fourth nuclear test (by North Korea)," said director general for Earthquake and Volcano of Korea Meteorological Administration, Kim Nam-ouk, at a news briefing.

(WION with inputs from agencies) 
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