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Summary

  1. North Korea claims "perfect success" in hydrogen bomb test
  2. State TV says device can be loaded onto a missile
  3. South Korean leader Moon calls for "strongest response"
  4. Japan confirms North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test
  5. North Korea's biggest test yet caused a 6.3 magnitude earthquake

Live Reporting

By Alastair Lawson and Vicky Baker

All times stated are UK

Live coverage on hold

We're pausing our live page coverage for now. You can continue to follow the main developments in our story here. The key points so far are as follows:

  • North Korea has tested what it says is a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on to a long-range missile
  • US President Donald Trump said North Korea's "words and actions" were "very hostile and dangerous"
  • South Korea, Japan, China and Russia have all voiced strong criticism of the North's sixth nuclear test
  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the "reckless" test was an "unacceptable further threat to the international community"

Kim Jong-un and a suspected hydrogen bomb
KCNA

US senator: 'Thousands could be killed or maimed'

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told BBC HARDtalk on Saturday that an American first military strike against North Korea is "inevitable" if something does not change.

Mr Graham was speaking to programme host Stephen Sackur at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy, just hours before North Korea's new claim of a successful hydrogen bomb test.

"I am 100% certain that if Kim Jong-un continues to develop missile technology that can hit America, if diplomacy fails to stop him, there will be an attack by the US against his weapon system. I'm assuming the worst, I'm assuming we drop one bomb, he fires at South Korea and maybe Japan. Let me tell you how the war ends: it ends with his utter destruction. Thousands of people could be killed or maimed.

"There's a lot at stake here. Let me ask you: why would the world allow him [Kim Jong-un] to get a hydrogen bomb with a missile to deliver it anywhere in the world? Why would we do that?"

Japan 'may target North Korea's oil'

Japan will work with the US and others to implement existing stringent UN Security Council sanctions resolutions on North Korea, in addition to pursuing the adoption of a new, stricter resolution, says Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, according to Kyodo News.

Mr Suga - the government's top spokesman - said that imposing restrictions on North Korea's trade in crude oil and oil products is "one of the options" Japan might seek.

But he said it would require the agreement of China and Russia, the permanent members of the Security Council with economic ties to Pyongyang.

Sanctions 'do not appear to be working'

Lassina Zerbo, head of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation
Reuters
The executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, Lassina Zerbo (above), says that it is up to the international community to decide its response to the latest North Korean test, but that the current range of sanctions did not appear to be working: "The [UN] Security Council has dealt with many sanctions and the sanctions seem to not be stopping [North Korea] from going beyond the acceptable in terms of their nuclear weapons programme. "'Where do we go?' is probably the million-dollar question, but I think many of the states today in their remarks have urged a political and diplomatic solution to this problem."

China and Russia stick together - Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed to stick to their goal of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.

They agreed "to keep close communication and co-ordination to deal with the new situation" and "appropriately deal with" the latest nuclear test, the agency said.

China and Russia have already voiced strong criticism against the latest nuclear test.

Mishandling crisis 'could lead to nuclear proliferation'

US-based security expert Vikram Singh tweets:

THREAD – mishandling this nuclear crisis with #DPRK could lead to global nuclear proliferation

BreakingA 'serious and grave threat' - May

Prime Minister Theresa May has spoken about North Korea's test, describing it as "reckless and posing "an unacceptable further threat to the international community".

She added: "I discussed the serious and grave threat these dangerous and illegal actions present with President Abe in Japan this week and reiterate the call we jointly made for tougher action, including increasing the pace of implementation of existing sanctions and looking urgently in the UN Security Council at new measures.

"This is now even more pressing. The international community has universally condemned this test and must come together to continue to increase the pressure on North Korea's leaders to stop their destabilising actions."

Theresa May
PA

Pyongyang's pride at bomb test

North Koreans gathered in front of a large screen outside Pyongyang Station and applauded as state television broadcast a special announcement confirming the hydrogen bomb test.

Speaking on North Korean TV, Shin Seok Chol said: "I feel great pride in how much our nuclear warheads have advanced in their precision. We can now perfectly rely on our operational ability, and it is astonishing how greatly our nuclear weapons technology has progressed."

Another man, Jang Guk Hwan, said he was "cheering with pride and honour to call myself part of the people of our great and respected leader, Kim Jong-un's nation".

People watching a large public TV screen
AFP

China 'monitoring radiation'

BBC China Correspondent tweets...

US treasury secretary: 'We will work with our allies'

"I'm going to draft a sanctions package and send it to the president for his strong consideration so anybody (who) wants to do trade or business with them will be prevented from doing trade or business with us," Treasury Secretary Mnuchin tells Fox News.

"We will work with our allies. We will work with China. But people need to cut off North Korea economically, this is unacceptable behaviour."

US 'to draft new sanctions package'

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is reported to be drafting a new sanctions package on North Korea to give to President Trump. He tells Fox News that will ask the president to "strongly to consider" cutting off all trade and impose new sanctions.

People look across to North Korea from Tumen, China. 30 Aug 2017

Stephen McDonell

BBC News, Beijing

Chinese people felt the ground tremble, but the government is more like to be shaking with anger.

Read more

Trump team 'to discuss crisis later on Sunday'

President Trump and his national security team will have a meeting later on Sunday to discuss North Korea's latest nuclear test, a White House statement says.

Border life appears normal

:A pedestrian in Tokyo watches a monitor showing an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un
Getty Images
As news of the latest nuclear test reverberated around the world, life on the border between North and South Korea continued as normal.
South Korean tanks take part in a military exercise in Paju, South Korea.
Getty
South Korean tanks continued their military exercises in Paju, close to the border with the north.
A South Korean boy uses binoculars to look over the North Korea at the Imjingak observation post in Paju
Getty Images
Elsewhere in Paju, people continued to look at North Korean positions from viewpoints.
A North Korean guard post seen from a South Korean observation post in Paju
AFP
There was no unusual activity to be seen at North Korean guard posts viewed from Paju.

The 21st Century's 'only nuclear test'

North Korea is the only country that has performed a nuclear test in the 21st Century, The Washington Post says. The paper points out that most nuclear powers - including the US and Russia which between them possess 93% of global nuclear warheads - have not performed a nuclear test in decades.

A history of exploded nuclear weapons

The apparent hydrogen bomb that North Korea is believed to have detonated underground on Sunday has been estimated at 100 kilotons.

This is five times more powerful than Fat Boy, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki by the US in 1945 and which killed 70,000 people instantly.

But how does it compare with the other big bombs exploded on Earth?

Atomic bomb explosion over Nagasaki
US Air Force

Bomb 'could end an American city'

Regardless of whether it was actually a hydrogen bomb, the explosion was big enough to “pretty much end an American city” if strapped on an ICBM, Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tells Bloomberg.

Stop 'nasty threats' towards N Korea

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist accused of selling nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya, has said he is “not surprised” with Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test, Japanese news agency Kyodo reports.

Mr Khan, who is described as the architect of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme, has urged Western countries, as well as Japan and South Korea, to stop their "nasty threats and rhetoric" towards Pyongyang.

Trump stance questioned

Trump on Air Force One
AFP/Getty

President Trump's tweet attacking South Korea's "talk of appeasing" North Korea is coming in for some criticism.

Some observers say his stance may be related to a threat to pull the US out of a trade deal with South Korea.

On Saturday reports said Mr Trump had asked aides to prepare for US withdrawal. In July the US told South Korea it wanted to renegotiate a 2012 trade deal, citing a lopsided trading relationship.

In July South Korea proposed holding military talks with the North, after weeks of heightened tension following a long-range missile test by Pyongyang.

Joshua Pollack, associate fellow at defence and security think tank RUSI, said the two were linked.

View more on twitter

Meanwhile, others say the US should be showing support for its ally rather than criticising and "threatening a trade war".

View more on twitter

And some people - including BBC North America Editor Jon Sopel - are asking how Mr Trump proposes to tackle North Korea.

President Trump has already threatened North Korea with "fire and fury like the world has never seen" - but North Korea has responded by carrying out its biggest-ever nuclear test.

View more on twitter

Johnson condemns 'reckless' test

Meanwhile British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has condemned North Korea's "reckless" nuclear weapon test and said "all options are on the table".

However he also said there was no easy military solution, as none of the options were good.

View more on twitter

Trump hits out at China

President Trump has also criticised both China and South Korea for their approaches towards the "rogue nation".

North Korea has become a "great threat and embarrassment to China", its ally, which had had "little success" in finding a solution he said.

Meanwhile, South Korea's "talk of appeasement" towards North Korea "will not work", Mr Trump said.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Breaking'Very hostile and dangerous' - Trump

US President Donald Trump has reacted to North Korea's "major nuclear test".

The country's "words and actions continue to be very dangerous to the United States..." he says.

View more on twitter

Pyongyang residents react

People in the North Korean capital Pyongyang have been learning of their nation's latest step down its atomic weapons path, and these individuals were pictured reacting in celebratory fashion.

People watching a giant public TV screen
AFP
People waving their arms in celebration
AFP
People watching a giant public TV screen
AFP
People waving their arms in celebration
AFP

S Korea experts assess the North's test

BBC Monitoring

The world through its media

South Korean experts and government agencies have made differing assessments on the potency of what North Korea claims was a successful hydrogen bomb test.

  • South Korea's weather agency, the Korea Meteorological Administration, notes that the explosive yield of the latest test was five to six times higher than that of North Korea's previous nuclear explosion conducted a year ago, The Korea Times reports.
  • The Korea Herald says Kim Young-woo, a South Korean lawmaker who also chairs the National Assembly National Defence Committee, believes the explosion was "more powerful than the nuclear bomb detonated in Japan's Nagasaki. Four or five times more powerful".
  • Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University, put it at 60-80 kitotons, short of some 100kt caused by a "real H-bomb".
  • Park Jung-jin, a researcher at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, says: "It seems that the North has made it clear once again that it wants to be recognised as a nuclear-armed state. It is more likely to double down on its push for advancing its nuclear weapons program."

'Spot the difference'

AFP editor-in-chief for Asia-Pacific region tweets:

Test 'scary' for nearby Chinese

Map
Google

People in Yanbian, the Chinese region next to north-eastern North Korea, have been reacting to the nuclear test today on social media.

On the most popular site, microblogging platform Sina Weibo, many say they felt the quake strongly, which is "scary".

Some want to know if such tests have any impact on the environment, with some wondering if they might trigger a volcanic eruption inside Changbai mountain.

Others complained that the Chinese government doesn't care about them as they don't seem to be taking strong action against North Korea.

Away from Yanbian, some Chinese commenters have mockingly described the Chinese foreign ministry as a "copy and paste machine" as they hear the same statements from the ministry time after time.

'Be firm' - France's Macron

AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a "very firm" response by the international community to North Korea's announcement that it had successfully tested a nuclear bomb.

"The international community must be very firm in its handling of this latest provocation," he said in a statement, calling on the UN Security Council to "quickly react" to the escalation.

North Korea paper reports bomb test

Washington Post's Tokyo bureau chief tweets:

'Tunnel collapse' may provide clues

Map of North Korea
EPA/USGS

North Korea has hailed its sixth "perfect success" of a nuclear test. The seismic readings indicate it is bigger than any other it has conducted, but the apparent collapse of a tunnel at the test site could provide valuable information, nuclear defence analyst Catherine Dill writes.

Why would the tunnel collapse? It could be that the tunnel was not constructed sufficiently to handle an explosion of that size. It's also possible that they intended for this collapse to occur - a way of signalling to the world that this was an authentic test through radionuclide release, a serious advance. It is still too early to tell.

What it does mean is that we are likely to get information to analyse this nuclear explosion to determine what happened under the mountains of the test site. This will take weeks or even months as monitoring sites run by the CTBTO detect these radionuclides.

The information they give us may tell us the composition of the warhead: how much fissile material there was and what kind - was it plutonium or highly enriched uranium?

Read more from Catherine

Ground-shaking graphs

Nuclear test seismologist tweets:

It has been suggested that the second recorded seismic event was a collapse in the tunnel where the device was tested.

View more on twitter

All shook up

Defence expert Melissa Hanham is among those on Twitter who spotted a rather startled reaction to North Korea's latest bomb test, from someone who works in that field.

A tweet stating: "This is not what you want to hear from a nuclear test seismologist."
BBC

'What nerve!' - KJU trolls XJP

Some observers are saying the timing of the test - which took place shortly before Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the BRICS summit in Shanghai - could not have been a coincidence.

"Nicely done" and "What nerve" are some of the comments this upstaging of the Chinese leader by his younger North Korean counterpart has elicited.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

That Kim Jong-un feels able to do this to its ally is noteworthy.

China is simply in the wrong place on North Korea, the BBC's China Editor Carrie Gracie says. It is allowing Kim Jong-un's nuclear ambitions to undermine Chinese national interest, she adds.

There are complex reasons for this including history, habit and political culture. But among Chinese foreign policy experts and even on social media, unease is beginning to spread.

China seems trapped in an unfinished history marked by binary choice: a nuclear-armed North Korea or a reunified Korea with American troops on China's border. Between these choices, it finds a nuclear-armed North Korea preferable.

Read more from Carrie:

Why Beijing should lead on the North Korean crisis

China 'upstaged and embarassed'

Robin says there's no sign, though, that China is willing yet to see that "firm will" go beyond UN sanctions which recently clamped down on seafood and iron ore exports, in addition to the coal and minerals that are already banned from crossing the border.

"It's noteworthy that this test took place just as China's president was about to welcome a handful of world leaders to a two-day showpiece summit here on the east coast. Set piece international events like this are important to China. But even the state-controlled media will find it hard to ignore the fact that their man has been upstaged - embarrassed too - by its almost universally ostracised ally and neighbour."

'Rebukes don't come much stronger than this'

The BBC's China Correspondent Robin Brant says North Korea's nuclear test is a slap in the face to its ally China.

"Rebukes don't come much stronger than this. North Korea's sixth nuclear weapons test is an utter rejection of all that its only ally has called for. Beijing's response was predictable: condemnation, urging an end to provocation and dialogue. But it also spoke of urging North Korea to 'face up to the firm will' of the international community to see denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula."

South Korean and Japanese ministers speak

South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha spoke with her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on the telephone to discuss countermeasures against North Korea's latest nuclear test, according to a foreign ministry official in Seoul.

BreakingMoon: 'Strongest response' needed

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has branded the North Korean nuclear test an "absurd" mistake.

He called for the "strongest response" and said new UN Security Council resolutions should be adopted to completely isolate Pyongyang.

Moon Jae-in
AFP/Getty

Trump and Abe have spoken

Japan's NHK says PM Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump have spoken on the phone for about 20 minutes. They agreed to work with South Korea to increase pressure on North Korea, it said.

NHK said Mr Abe wants to "calmly analyse a range of information he is receiving, discuss necessary action with other countries, and take all possible measures to protect people's lives and assets".

Trump and Abe in Feb 2017
Reuters

'It's been worse before'

The Korea Times has been speaking to people across South Korea to see how worried they are. The general mood seems to be that there's nothing much new about North Korean belligerence and provocation.

"Kim Jong-un will not use the bomb since that means he will die," says one woman in Seoul.

"It's been worse before but still did not lead to war," says Yoon Tae-jun, 29, from Busan, before adding: "But then again I'm not sure this time because of Trump."

People in Seoul watch news reports
EPA