- The first sign of a possible test was the detection of seismic waves. The epicenter of the apparent earthquake was close to North Korea's nuclear testing site. Here's data from the U.S. Geological Survey and China.
- The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization also took to Twitter to confirm that it too detected shaking in the region.
- As Reuters noted, North Korea isn't known for its seismic activity so the chances of it being a real earthquake were low.
- The South Koreans were quick to determine the quake was caused by a man-made device, ie: a nuclear weapon.
- As the seismic waves were breaking across international newswires, the governments in Japan and South Korea began scrambling to pull together "urgent" meetings. It was the same surprise that greeted North Korea's rocket launch late last year. The U.S. and China might not have been so surprised. According to an unsourced official quoted by Yonhap News, they received advance notice of the test.
- And then word that the U.S. passed this information on to at least Japan.
- Here's what it looked like:
- The shaking from the blast was apparently felt along the North Korean / China border:
- And here's the latest official word from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization:
“Today our monitoring stations picked up evidence of an unusual seismic event in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The event shows explosion-like characteristics and its location is roughly congruent with the 2006 and 2009 DPRK nuclear tests. For now, further data and analysis are necessary to establish what kind of event this is. If confirmed as a nuclear test, this act would constitute a clear threat to international peace and security, and challenges efforts made to strengthen global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, in particular by ending nuclear testing.”
- It wasn't for about three hours after the test that the North Korean media confirmed the news. The state-run Korea Central News Agency said:The scientific field for national defence of the DPRK succeeded in the third underground nuclear test at the site for underground nuclear test in the northern part of the DPRK on Tuesday.
The test was carried out as part of practical measures of counteraction to defend the country's security and sovereignty in the face of the ferocious hostile act of the U.S. which wantonly violated the DPRK's legitimate right to launch satellite for peaceful purposes.
The test was conducted in a safe and perfect way on a high level with the use of a smaller and light A-bomb unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power. It was confirmed that the test did not give any adverse effect to the surrounding ecological environment.
The specific features of the function and explosive power of the A-bomb and all other measurements fully tallied with the values of the design, physically demonstrating the good performance of the DPRK's nuclear deterrence that has become diversified.
The nuclear test will greatly encourage the army and people of the DPRK in their efforts to build a thriving nation with the same spirit and mettle as displayed in conquering space, and offer an important occasion in ensuring peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region.
- It was, of course, immediately condemned: