North Korea Claims It Successfully Detonated a Hydrogen Bomb Test

North Korea
A man watches a television screen showing a news broadcast on North Korea's nuclear test at Seoul Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2015. SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

North Korea claimed early Wednesday, January 6, local time, that it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb test after a "seismic event" was reported in South Korea.

The isolated totalitarian state led by dictator Kim Jong Un made the announcement about an hour after 10 a.m., claiming that it had set off a hydrogen bomb, its first ever. "This test is a measure for self-defense the D.P.R.K. [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] has taken to firmly protect the sovereignty of the country and the vital right of the nation from the ever-growing nuclear threat and blackmail by the U.S.-led hostile forces and to reliably safeguard the peace on the Korean Peninsula and regional security," the statement (via the New York Times) read. 

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The announcement was made by an anchor, clad in a traditional Korean dress, on North Korea's KCNA news broadcast, which is run by the state. "Heaven and earth are shaking because of this historic event," the anchor woman shared. "It is our legal right as a sovereign nation to own hydrogen bomb for justice as we stand against the U.S., which is the culprit of invasion and who is looking for every opportunity to attack us with its vast pool of murderous nuclear weapons."

However, South Korean officials could not confirm to NBC News whether the test was valid. One anonymous upper-level military official from South Korea told the network that they would "presume that it was not a hydrogen bomb test."

If true, this would be North Korea's first hydrogen bomb, a thermonuclear weapon that's far more powerful than atomic bombs.

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Neighboring countries South Korea and Japan reacted to North Korea's claims on Wednesday. "We absolutely cannot allow this," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, while South Korean President Park Geun Hye described the claim as something that "threatens our lives and future."


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