North Korea has just been shaken by 5.3 magnitude earthquake that analysts say is caused by another nuclear testing. The waveform generated by the seismic activity indicates that it wasn't naturally occurring, an observation echoed by Japan's meteorological agency.
This is the country's fifth nuclear testing, the fourth having been conducted last January. The impact of the blast seems to be twice as powerful compared to the previous one, raising concern from South Korea that Kim Jong-un has finally gotten his hand on real nuclear technology.
Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, expressed similar concerns. "North Korea's nuclear development is becoming a graver threat to Japan's safety and severely undermines the peace and safety of the region and the international community," he said.
The detonation is being reported to have reached 10 kilotonnes, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. If this is the case, it will be North Korea's most powerful nuclear test yet making it 5 kilotonnes shy of the hydrogen bomb that the US dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The seismic activity seemed to have originated in North-east, North Korea, proximal to its Punngye-ri underground nuclear test site.
Those who have been keeping a close eye on the country said that they've been expecting the test for some time as satellite images have shown increased activity in Punggye-ri region.
Following the recent event, Japan has sent military aircraft for radiation monitoring, while China is observing radiation level near its border with North Korea. President Barrack Obama had also spoken with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye regarding the latest test.
No doubt that the recent detonation is going to send another wave of sanctions against North Korea, with the possibility of stricter consequences like blocking fuel oil to the country. However, based on the past reaction of Pyongyang to these sanctions it's unlikely that it will deter Kim Jong-un from further developing the country's nuclear program.