The world should have seen this one coming. North Korea’s nuclear testing was always going to eventually result in a hydrogen bomb.
After seeing and reading what I did about the nature of an American thermonuclear weapon, it is what Kim has a achieved is a major advance in North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. To be clear, a hydrogen bomb test has a many fold increase in the release of energy over a non-hydrogen bomb. We are no long talking about a device that can wipe out any New Zealand’s largest city. We are talking about a quantum leap in the increase in productive power.
When Kim Jong-il first achieved the ability to test a nuclear weapon at all in 2006, this was a major step backwards. It meant a nation that openly criticizes the world order and even its own Chinese allies now had a weapon capable of wiping out a small city. The devices being tested then were not big – at 12.5 kilotons they were a bit smaller than the device dropped on Hiroshima. Successive tests up to the one just over a week ago, only yielded relatively minor increases in destructive power – a 12.5 might have become an 20kt device. Destructive test, yes, but compared with the huge Tsar Bomba test by the U.S.S.R. in 1960, absolutely tiny.
Kim Jong Un has gone one better. In conducting Friday’s test, North Korea conducted a test about 20x bigger than the largest of the previous North Korean tests. At 250kt, we are taking about a nuclear warhead that could destroy Christchurch many fold over. Despite the worlds many attempts to curtail Kim, China continues to fund North Korea. The thing only propping up the regime is China.
Now that Mr Jong Un has such a powerful device, we need to play very carefully. around this issue. China could invade North Korea to prop up the country, except that this would likely start WW3 or some sort of larger conflict at risk of spiralling into WW3.
Kim Jong Un will keep testing nuclear weapons and making refinements. The fact that he has made the ones he said he would in 2017 without regard to increasing U.N. sanctions or the international community, tells me we have reached a dangerous cross roads.
Where we go from here puts millions of lives on the line as well as the global economy, human rights for millions and millions of people. Kim Jong Un does not care, but the West – for obvious reasons – do not have that luxury.