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North Korea Conducts Fifth Nuclear Test as Regime Celebrates National Holiday 

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The governments in both South Korea and Japan convened emergency meetings to discuss the test.

TOKYO — Anna Fifield reports: North Korea conducted its fifth atomic test Friday morning, South Korean officials said, as Kim Jong Un’s regime continues to defy international condemnation of its nuclear and missile programs and waves of sanctions.

The test, which analysts said appeared to be of a large nuclear device, came at exactly 9 a.m. local time on Friday, the 68th anniversary of the formation of the communist regime by Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather, and a national holiday.

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“We believe this is a nuclear test,” South Korea’s defense ministry said Friday morning after the United States Geological Survey reported a 5.3-magnitude earthquake near Punggye-ri. “Possible explosion, located near the location where North Korea has detonated nuclear explosions in the past,” the USGS said on its website.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

Analysts said that the earthquake was artificial. “USGS is calling it an explosion because it has all the hallmarks: The waveform is sudden, unlike an earthquake, the depth is shallow, the location is the North Korean test site, and it happened on the half-hour,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif.

“This is clearly a nuclear test,” Lewis said, estimating the size at between 10 and 20 kilotons — a size that, if confirmed, would make this the biggest of North Korea’s five tests.

The governments in both South Korea and Japan convened emergency meetings to discuss the test.

In Washington, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement: “We are aware of seismic activity on the Korean Peninsula in the vicinity of a known North Korean nuclear test site. We are monitoring and continuing to assess the situation in close coordination with our regional partners.”

Just before the earthquake was detected, North Korea analysts for the website 38 North said that satellite imagery showed movement around the underground test site, with…(read more)

Source: The Washington Post

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