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The news was broadcast on state television, "Let's begin the year of 2016 ... with the thrilling sound of our first hydrogen bomb explosion, so that the whole world will look up to our socialist, nuclear-armed republic and the great Workers' Party of Korea!" Kim wrote in a handwritten message next to his signature. which also showed a copy of Kim's initial signed order dated December 15. While a fourth nuclear test had been long expected, the claim that it was a hydrogen device, much more powerful than an atomic bomb, came as a surprise, as did the timing. It ensures that North Korea will be a key topic during the US presidential campaign. The device had a yield of about 6 kilotonnes, according to the office of a South Korean lawmaker on the parliamentary intelligence committee - roughly the same size as the North's last test, which was equivalent to 6-7 kilotonnes of TNT.
"Given the scale, it is hard to believe this is a real hydrogen bomb," said Yang Uk, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum. "They could have tested some middle stage kind (of device) between an A-bomb and H-bomb, but unless they come up with any clear evidence, it is difficult to trust their claim." The White House said it could not confirm North Korea's claims of miniaturisation and a hydrogen bomb test, but added the United States would respond appropriately to provocations and defend its allies. While the Kim regime boasts of its military might to project strength globally, it also plays up the need to defend itself from external threats as a way to maintain control domestically. orth Korea has been under UN Security Council sanctions since it first tested an atomic device in 2006 and could face additional measures. The Security Council will meet later on Wednesday to discuss what steps it could take, "The US is a gang of cruel robbers which has worked hard to bring even a nuclear disaster to the DPRK," using the official acronym for North Korea. diplomats said. However, it said Pyongyang will act as a responsible nuclear state and vowed not to use its nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty was infringed. It said it will not transfer its nuclear

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