Five North Korea Nuclear Tests in the Past Decade

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Five North Korea Nuclear Tests in the Past Decade PHOTOGRAPH: Wikimedia Commons/R. Clucas | Under Public Domain Dedication

The tensions on the Korean Peninsula continues to build in the past few weeks. The United States government declared that it has officially ended diplomatic patience on North Korea nuclear tests. North Korea responded that it has nothing to fear despite the U.S.’ threat of cutting off its global financial system and a pre-emptive military strike.

The animosity of most countries against North Korea stemmed from its aggressive yet unstable nuclear program. In the past decade, the communist nation conducted several nuclear weapons.

Here is the list of the North Korea nuclear tests since 2006:

9 October 2006

Kim Jong Il, the father of Kim Kong Un, was the head of the state. On October 3, 2006, the regime announced its intention to conduct a nuclear test. The blast has an estimated explosive force of less than one kiloton. Moreover, neighboring countries detected some radioactive output. The tremor amounted to an explosion, which is equivalent to 550 tons of TNT. The test device in 2006 was smaller than the U.S. nuclear bombs dropped on Japan, during the second world war. The secretive nature of North Korea, as well as the small yield test hid the status of the test. Presumably, the test could have been a failed fizzle or dud due to the small device. It can only be successful if it used sophisticated technology. A scientific paper reported that the test yielded 0.48 kilotons.

25 May 2009

In May 2009, North Korea risked a potential international isolation after it reported of a successful test of its nuclear weapon. The regime under Jong Il claimed that the nuclear weapon matched the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. South Korean officials reported that they detected a tremor consistent with a possible underground explosion. Reportedly, North Korea immediately followed up its nuclear test after it test-fired three short-range missiles from a nuclear base on the east coast. A scientific paper revealed that the blast yield 2.35 kilotons. The international community condemned the test. The United Nations Security Council passed the 1874 Resolution. The resolution condemned the test and tightened sanctions on the country.

12 February 2013

The nuclear test in 2013 was under the rule of Kim Jong Un after he took his father’s place in 2011. On February 12, 2013, North Korea stated that it successfully conducted a third underground test. The regime stated that they used a miniature nuclear weapon that holds greater explosive power. Various organizations, such as the China Earthquake Networks Center and United States Geological Survey, detected a tremor that showed a nuclear bomb signature. Japan summoned an emergency U.N. meeting on February 12. Meanwhile, South Korea raised its military alert status. There is no confirmation whether North Korea designed the explosion to mimic a nuclear blast. Two days later, Japanese, Chinese and South Korean officials failed o detect any radiation emitted by the test.

Various organizations, such as the China Earthquake Networks Center and United States Geological Survey, detected a tremor that showed a nuclear bomb signature. Japan summoned an emergency U.N. meeting on February 12. Meanwhile, South Korea raised its military alert status. There is no confirmation whether North Korea designed the explosion to mimic a nuclear blast. Two days later, Japanese, Chinese and South Korean officials failed to detect any radiation emitted by the test.

6 January 2016

North Korea’s fourth nuclear test happened last January 6, 2016. The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 5.1 magnitude earthquake at the North’s nuclear test site. On the other hand, the China Earthquake Networks Center reported a magnitude of 4.9. At the time, the regime’s media announced that the country successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. However, experts and other South Korean officials doubted the claims. The third-party experts stated that the device was probably a fission bomb. This type of bombs utilized hydrogen fusion to create smaller and lighter warheads.

9 September 2016

In the same year 0f 2016, South Korean and Japanese officials reported that North Korea conducted another test. The nuclear yield was equivalent to 10 kilotons. The blast generated a magnitude of 5.3 seismic shocks. With a huge seismic shock, the explosion is the largest nuclear test of North Korea. The fifth test took place at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site.

Recently, Pyongyang fired four ballistic missiles. One of the missiles reached the waters inside Japan’s economic zone. The incident raised tensions with the international community remaining vigilant with the unpredictability of the regime.

Source: Reuters, BBC

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