North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Claims Country Has Hydrogen Bomb
BEIJING — North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has claimed his country has developed a hydrogen bomb, a significant step forward from the less powerful atomic bomb.
The official Korea Central News Agency reported that Kim made the comments as he toured the Phyongchon Revolutionary Site, which marks the feats of his late father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung.
The work of Kim Il Sung “turned [North Korea] into a powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate a self-reliant [atomic] bomb and [hydrogen] bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty and the dignity of the nation,” KCNA quoted Kim Jong Un as saying.
Also known as a thermonuclear bomb, a hydrogen bomb produces a much stronger blast than an atomic one. North Korea carried out tests to set off nuclear devices in 2006, 2009 and 2013, for which it has been subject to United Nations sanctions banning trade and financing activities that aid its weapons program.
Experts and neighbors reacted to the claims with caution.
China’s government had seen the report but offered no comment on whether or not it was credible.
“The situation on the Korean peninsula is very delicate, complex and fragile,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Huan Chunying told reporters. “We hope all concerned will make effort that contributes to peace and stability.”
China is desperately poor and reclusive North Korea’s closest ally.
A spokesperson for South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the country’s military didn’t have any intelligence on its neighbor’s hydrogen bomb claim.
“We are closely monitoring and tracking any and all of North Korea’s nuclear activities,” the official added. “So far, we have not noticed any unusual movements or activities.”
North Korea has remained technically at war with South Korea since a 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce. The North has repatedly threatened to destroy the South, as well as the U.S.
Zhang Liangui, a North Korea expert based at the China’s Central Party School who once studied at Kim Il Sung University, said he doubted North Korea had the ability to develop a hydrogen bomb.