On Sunday, North Korea celebrated the 10th anniversary of its first nuclear bomb test, which made it the eighth country in the world openly have nuclear warfare capability.
Pyongyang conducted its first nuclear test on Oct. 9, 2006, near the village of Punggye-ri . According to seismic data analysis from the time, the yield of the explosion was estimated to be below one kiloton. The country later went on to say that the sole cause behind its nuclear ambitions was the threat it faced from the United States.
The reclusive country has since made considerable advances in the field and according to recent reports, Kim Jong-un’s regime may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test. Recent increased activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site has led to speculation that the country may be advancing in its nuclear ambitions despite worldwide condemnation and numerous sanctions. If there is a test, the significance of the 10th anniversary of its first nuclear test as well as the anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party on Oct. 10 may be worth noting.
The international community has come together repeatedly to deter North Korea from going ahead with its nuclear program but it has had no effect on the government led by the late Kim Jong-il’s son. Numerous sanctions and diplomatic endeavors have been directed towards Pyongyang, especially this year, but to no avail.
The U.S. is leading the charge against North Korea’s nuclear weapons, both inside the United Nations and outside. The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Powers told a news conference in Seoul on Sunday: “While Security Council resolutions are one tool in our tool box... we are committed to using all the tools in our tool kit to address this serious threat including the diplomatic pressure that we are mobilizing around the world to convince other nations to isolate the regime.”
Following the October 2006 test, North Korea conducted its second test May 25, 2009, months into U.S. President Barack Obama’s first term. It prompted the U.N. to impose fresh sanctions on the country, banning all weapons exports to North Korea. The third test came on Feb. 13, 2013, when Pyongyang claimed it had learnt how to use a uranium-enriched device, increasing the effectiveness of their weapons.
This year has been particularly busy for the North’s nuclear program, with two tests having been conducted so far — one on Jan. 6 and another on Sept. 9. While the first was claimed by North Korea to be a hydrogen bomb, the second and possibly biggest test was a nuclear warhead explosion a month ago.
Despite the sanctions and diplomacy being used to tackle the situation, Pyongyang seems determined to carry out further tests, which it says are in self defense, referring to the United States’ own arsenal of nuclear warheads.