North Korea’s New Bomb is 7 Times Stronger Than Hiroshima Weapon
For the first time since President Donald Trump took office, North Korea unleashed a new nuclear test on Sunday, proving that any talk of Kim Jong Un reducing aggression was little more than faint and unearned optimism on the part of the United States. The test, which triggered a two-stage earthquake registering as high as 6.3 on the magnitude scale, leaves no doubt that North Korea will not stop their hostile approach to the international community until forced to do so.
The test, which was deemed a “complete success” by North Korean state media, indicated a bomb that could unleash devastation up to 7 times more destructive than the 1945 Hiroshima blast that brought World War II to a close. It was also, according to experts, “five to six times” as powerful as the last North Korean atomic test, which was launched a year ago.
In response to the news, President Trump was unequivocal.
“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test,” he said on Twitter. “Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States. North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”
Later, in a tweet confirming that the time for diplomacy is over, he wrote, “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work – they only understand one thing!”
Unfortunately, even those in Trump’s inner circle have concluded that there are few military options that make sense. Any strike, however surgical, risks a response from North Korea that could wipe out the city of Seoul. Even without the use of nuclear weapons, Pyongyang has conventional weaponry capable of unleashing extraordinary devastation on the South; if Kim fears he is under attack from the West, he could kill millions of people before the U.S. and its allies have the chance to put an end to his aggression.
That leaves economic pressure on the table, and it’s a gambit that will only work once China decides it has had enough of Kim’s posturing.
“This will test whether China is prepared to go ahead with more radical actions like cutting off oil supplies to North Korea,” expert Cheng Xiaohe told The New York Times.
China’s full cooperation is necessary if the U.S. wants to end Kim’s nuclear ambitions without the use of military force, but time may be running out on any solution that does not end in large-scale conflict. As Vipin Narang, an MIT expert on nuclear strategy, told the Washington Post, North Korea’s latest test is a demonstration of how much destructive power it already possesses.
“Now, with even relatively inaccurate intercontinental ballistic missile technology,” Narang said, “they can destroy the better part of a city with this yield.”
In a field of terrible options, waiting may be the worst of them.