Seoul – South Korean simulated missile attack; threats of military operations by the United States; clear condemnation by China; UN Security Council emergency meetings: These are some of the reactions to Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test conducted yesterday, the sixth that reportedly tested a hydrogen bomb, with a force to be perceived in neighboring countries as a magnitude 6.3 earthquake.
South authorities say the test took place at 12.36 in the far north of the peninsula, in Punggye-ri, Kilju County, a nuclear site already used at other times. The power of the triggered shock was 9.8 times as strong as the fifth test conducted by the North in September 2016.
North Korean television’s famous announcer, Ri Chun-hee, described the experiment with great emphasis as “a perfect success”, a “strong unprecedented blast”, bringing the neighboring nation “to the ultimate purpose of completing the nuclear power of the state “. Throughout these years, North Korea has consistently challenged international pressures and sanctions by developing more and more nuclear weapons and missiles. In the past two months it has tested intercontinental ballistic missiles. One of them crossed the skies of Japan, falling into the Pacific Ocean. It also threatened to hit US military bases in Guam Island.
From Seoul, President Moon Jae-in said Pyongyang’s test is “an absurd strategic mistake” and has pushed the whole world into a “strongest possible” response, including further UN sanctions to “completely isolate” North Korea.
Today, the Southern Army conducted military exercises using missiles, with simulated targets approaching the Punggye-ri nuclear site. In recent days, the government gave the go ahead to reinforcing the power of the bombs used in the missiles, bringing them from 500 kg to one ton.
Today ‘s news is that the Ministry of Ecology has given the ok to the use of the Thaad anti-missile system. Earlier, Moon had halted the installation of Thaad, criticized by South Koreans for its pollution (and also because opposed by China).
On twitter, US President Donald Trump yesterday denounced the test as “hostile” and “dangerous” bulling the North as a “rogue state”. He also said he wanted to boycott every nation that continues – despite UN sanctions – to trade with Pyongyang, with clear reference to China. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that any threat to the US or its allies by Pyongyang would lead to a “massive military response”. It would be “effective and overwhelming,” even if it would not aim to destroy the entire enemy country.
In a statement issued by Xinhua, the presidents of China and Russia yesterday expressed their agreement on ” appropriately addressing ” the challenge of North Korea and its nuclear test. The two, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, met in Xiamen on the eve of the Brics Countries gathering.
Earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a strong statement in which it “strongly opposes and strongly condemns” the nuclear experiment. “We urgently ask North Korea,” the message continues, “to recognize the determination of the international community in reaching the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula … and to return to the path to resolving conflicts through dialogue.”
The Foreign Ministry reiterated that China will continue to apply the UN sanctions against Pyongyang “in a total way”.
According to a China-based Council on Foreign Relations report, China still remains Pyongyang’s main economic support, covering 90% of North’s business volume.
Beijing is increasingly determined to follow the UN indications on sanctions, backing down from its support for the North regime. In this regard, some analysts point out that Pyongyang’s various missile and nuclear experiments take place at very important moments for China, which is likely to embarrass it in front of the international community.
Yesterday’s launch takes place on the eve of the meeting with the Brics Countries, where Xi Jiping is expected to deliver a key address. (AsiaNews)