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Fact-checking North Korea’s H-bomb claim

by AirTalk®

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon makes comments to the media before the Security Council holds a closed-door meeting on January 6, 2016 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

It was a bomb of an announcement. North Korea claimed on Tuesday night that it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

Condemnations have been swift, even though the assertion has been met with skepticism around the world.

If the claim stands, this would mark a huge scientific and technological leap for North Korea’s nuclear program. The country had conducted underground nuclear tests three times prior -- but far less powerful than the damages a hydrogen bomb could do.

Despite sanctions, North Korea has continued to pursue its nuclear ambitions. Today, the United Nations said new sanctions are being considered against the country.

What’s involved in verifying North Korea’s claim? Does North Korea have the technological capability to build a hydrogen bomb? What can be done to curb the country’s unchecked nuclear aims?


Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at Arms Control Association, a DC-based organization that works to inform the public about arms control developments

Charles K. Armstrong,  a professor of Korea Studies at Columbia University. He is also a fellow at the North Korea International Documentation Project at the Wilson Center. 

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