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North Korea Says Tested Nuclear Bomb, Can Miniaturize Arms

  • Test coincides with anniversary of country’s founding
  • Blast was as big as 10 kilotons, South Korea ministry says

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on Friday, the anniversary of the reclusive nation’s founding, and said it was now able to produce miniaturized nuclear arms.

In a statement on state-run television, Pyongyang said no radiation was leaked in the blast. The official Korean Central News Agency said the detonation of a nuclear warhead showed the regime had the ability to attach atomic weapons to rockets.

“The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable the DPRK to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power,” KCNA said, using the acronym for North Korea. “This has definitely put on a higher level the DPRK’s technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets.”

South Korean President Park Geun Hye condemned the test -- calling it an action of “maniacal recklessness” -- and warned Kim Jong Un’s moves would lead to North Korea’s self-destruction. The blast set off an artificial earthquake around 9:30am Seoul time, with the defense ministry saying the explosion was 10 kilotons. The United States Geological Survey put the quake magnitude at 5.3.

Miniaturization Claims

The miniaturization of the warhead, if true, would be a major leap for North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. North Korea said after its third test in 2013 it had created nuclear missiles capable of reaching the U.S., but produced little proof, drawing skepticism from arms experts. In March it unveiled images of what it called a miniaturized warhead.

Pyongyang said after its January test it had detonated a hydrogen bomb for the first time. That was never verified and some nuclear experts and the U.S. cast doubt on the claim.

Korean stocks and the won fell Friday -- with the...