North Korea Claims it has a Hydrogen Bomb, Many Remain Skeptical
North Korea revealed that it has created a hydrogen bomb for the purpose of defending "its sovereignty and the dignity of the nation."
According to the Korea Central News Agency, the young leader of the country, Kim Jong Un made the latest claim while he was touring the Phyongchon Revolutionary Site. If the statement is true, a bomb of this capacity could pose a worldwide threat.
Many analysts, however, remain skeptical that North Korea has the brain and manpower to create this weapon. These analysts believe that the latest announcement was made as an attempt to strengthen leader Kim Jong Un's legitimacy.
"Do I think they have the capacity to make a hydrogen bomb? I think that's virtually impossible," said Daniel Pinkston, an expert on North Korea's nuclear weapons, reported by The Washington Post. "I'm super skeptical that they've been able to make this scientific advancement."
Another expert, Zhang Liangui from China's Central Party School, added, "They have not even conducted any single test and now they make this claim - there's no way for us to believe it is true. Their purpose could be to pressure the international community. Their main aim is to demand the international community to recognize the country as a nuclear state, and to further stress they will not abandon the nuclear weapons."
Even if the claim is not true, neighboring countries are still cautious. China, an ally to North Korea, did not say whether or not North Korea has a hydrogen bomb. It did comment on the fragility of the area and the importance of maintaining peace.
"The situation on the Korean peninsula is very delicate, complex and fragile," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Huan Chunying told reporters according to NBC News. "We hope all concerned will make effort that contributes to peace and stability."
A spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry said, "We are closely monitoring and tracking any and all of North Korea's nuclear activities. So far, we have not noticed any unusual movements or activities."
A hydrogen bomb, also known as a thermonuclear bomb, is much stronger than the atomic bomb, which the country had previously tested in 2006, 2009 and 2013. It is difficult to monitor the weapons that North Korea has due to the fact that the country is so closed off from the rest of the world.
North Korea has previously threatened to destroy South Korea and the U.S.