North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un announced Thursday that the country now has a hydrogen bomb in its nuclear arsenal.
“[We have] turned the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] into a powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate a self-reliant A-bomb and H-bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty and the dignity of the nation,” said Kim, according to Vice news. Hydrogen bombs are several times more potent than their standard nuclear equivalents, so if true, the development would come as a great shock to the international community.
The announcement follows an alleged Oct. 7 assassination attempt on Kim Jon-Un’s life, according to various reports, however such claims coming out of North Korea have been notoriously spotty. An anonymous source told Radio Free Asia “Kim Jong Un’s visit to Kalma airport was cancelled immediately, as explosives were found a day before his visit.”
The explosives were supposedly found by Kim’s personal bodyguard during a sweep of the premises.
A former demolitions instructor in the South Korean special forces speaking to North Korea news has dismissed the assassination claims as “just another North Korea rumor.”
The DPRK is known for its occasional saber-rattling, and it seems several experts are highly skeptical that the announcement is true.
“I think it’s unlikely that they have an H-bomb at the moment, but I don’t expect them to keep testing basic devices indefinitely, either,” says Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control at the Midlebury Institute of International Studies to Vice News.
“[It is] hard to see convincing technical evidence” says John Nilsson-Wright of Chatham House speaking to CNN.
The veracity of Kim’s claim may be uncertain, but it does follow an uptick in DPRK aggression following a recent test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile last week. (RELATED: North Korea Tests Submarine Missile In Direct Violation Of UN Resolution)
Hydrogen bombs, also known as thermonuclear bombs or H-bombs, are several times more powerful than their standard nuclear equivalents. To put it in perspective, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had yields of 15 and 20 kilotons, respectively, whereas “Ivy Mike” the first H-Bomb had a yield of 10,400 kilotons. A kiloton is the equivalent the explosive power of 1,000 tons of TNT. You can view the destructive power of various nuclear weapons on the interactive Nukemap.
The DPRK has conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. These tests led to the United Nations sanctioning some of the country’s financial and trade systems.