kim-jong-un-with-his-bomb

Today, North Korea conducted a nuclear test, it’s sixth.

North Korea said it conducted a sixth and significantly larger nuclear test Sunday, stepping up pressure on President Donald Trump in what is shaping up to be his biggest foreign policy crisis.

In a televised statement, North Korea described the underground explosion, which triggered a large earthquake, as a “perfect success in the test of a hydrogen bomb for an ICBM.” Pyongyang said “the creditability of the operation of the nuclear warhead is fully guaranteed.”

The test came just hours after leader Kim Jong Un showed off what he described as a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The explosion at the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri in North Korea’s mountainous northeast triggered an initial magnitude-6.3 earthquake, followed by a magnitude-4.1 temblor that was possibly caused by a structural collapse, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There are reports that this was some sort of “two stage” bomb. I have no idea how this would work as the first explosion would vaporize the second warhead before it could detonate.

This tweet seems the more likely explanation.

This was, by far, the North’s largest nuclear bomb test ever.

north-korea-nuke-test-graph

And the North Koreans went to great extremes to make sure everyone knew this was a miniaturized weapon capable of being carried on an ICBM. The short message was that Washington, DC, is now as vulnerable to a nuclear strike as Pyongyang.

President Trump was on Twitter:

A meeting of regional allies is underway to consider what to do next…s*** and go blind is probably high on the list.

Rather than an actual technological advance, the odds are that this test was of a traditional weapon and it should be seen as a follow on to the firing of an IRBM across Japan earlier. This ups the ante but doesn’t really do anything they haven’t done before so they don’t expect any real negative consequences. Russia and China have both signaled that they will not support any new UN sanctions so look for Treasury to start imposing unilateral sanctions on foreign companies with ties to North Korea.

Don’t look for military action unless we start moving US dependents home.