Another day, another veiled threat from North Korea. Unlike most, this one was very specific.
State-run television in the People’s Republic reported on Sunday that Pyongyang’s arsenal of deadly weapons now includes a hydrogen bomb that could wipe out New York City and kill everybody who lives there.
“Our hydrogen bomb is much bigger than the one developed by the Soviet Union,” DPRK Today reported, citing nuclear scientist Cho Hyong Il.
“If this H-bomb were to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile and fall on Manhattan in New York City, all the people there would be killed immediately and the city would burn down to ashes.”
The remarks, first reported by the Washington Post, follow a staged show of the country’s military power last week where leader Kim Jong-un was filmed inspecting a silver sphere. The object is believed to be a miniature nuclear warhead or a hydrogen bomb.
In February, North Korea launched a satellite into space, according to state media. The move was widely viewed by the outside world as a step in the direction of long-range missile testing that could one day allow Kim, should he wish, to reach the US mainland with a targeted missile.
It was condemned by the UN Security Council and fresh sanctions were imposed. US Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters “it cannot be business as usual” after two successive North Korean acts that are “hostile and illegal”.
“What’s important is that the Security Council unites,” Power said. “China is a critical player ... We are hopeful that China, like all council members, will see the grave threat to regional and international peace and security, see the importance of adopting tough, unprecedented measures, breaking new ground here, exceeding the expectations of Kim Jong Un.”
South Korean President Park Geun-hye called the launch an “intolerable provocation”. The Foreign Ministry in China expressed “regret that, disregarding the opposition from the international community, the (North) side obstinately insisted in carrying out a launch by using ballistic missile technologies.”
The “H-bomb” is a weapon unlike any other — it is believed to be 1000 times more powerful than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Countries including China, the US and Russia have hydrogen bombs but have never used one.
North Korea claimed in January it had tested detonation of a hydrogen bomb, a claim the US described as far-fetched.
Further tests have been ordered by the country’s leader, state TV reports.