North Korea conducted third nuclear test

The UN Security Council likely to impose fresh sanctions.

New Statesman
North Korea launched rocket Unha-3 carrying the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 in December. Credit: Getty Images.

North Korea has conducted its third test of a nuclear weapon on Monday as an earthquake of magnitude 4.9 hit the region where the explosion was carried out.

The country, which is not prone to natural earthquakes, conducted its first and second nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 respectively. These tests had a blast force of less than 1kT and 4.6kT respectively, according to Sig Hecker of Stanford University.

The fresh testing comes soon after the UN Security Council’s extension of sanctions against the country in response to its satellite launch in December 2012.

Yonhap, the South Korean official news agency, citing an undisclosed official, reported that the country had informed the US and China about the test.

International observers have found that the country has been preparing for nuclear test through satellite photography in recent times.

The country, however, has found ways to tackle existing stringent sanctions like cutting the usage of international banking system by the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, China has consistently resisted pressure from the US for tougher measures.

North Korea has made significant progress towards developing intercontinental ballistic missiles, citing the threat of US military action against it.