North Korea claims to detonate H-Bomb, U.S. skeptical of claims
WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefed the press Wednesday afternoon after an alleged test of a Hydrogen bomb by North Korea Tuesday and disputed the regime’s claims.
Earnest stated the United States believes the results are “not consistent with a hydrogen bomb,” adding that they will continue to monitor and access the situation.
“We are going to continue to look at this,” Earnest said, once again adding, “Initial analysis is not consistent with the regime’s claims.”
United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is said to have had a conversation with his South Korean counterpart, the details of that conversation are currently unknown.
United States Department of State spokesman John Kirby briefed the press reiterating statements made by Secretary of State John Kerry.
“We are not going to accept North Korea as a nuclear arm state,” Kirby said. Kirby would not elaborate on specific intelligence operations before and after the alleged test.
“This is an incredibly opaque regime,” Kirby said, adding “intelligence is not a perfect science.” Journalists in the press conference room pressured Kirby on rumors of U.S. planes being dispatched over North Korea immediately after the test but Kirby would not confirm these allegations.
Both Kirby and Kerry spoke about bringing additional sanctions as a form of punishment against North Korea for seeking nuclear weapons.
“Clearly this is an international decision,” Kirby said adding “this is something we want the UN to take up.”
The Hwasong and Nodong missile systems in use by North Korea could reach most of South Korea and most of Japan, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
North Korea has two other missile systems with inter-continental capabilities that have not been adequately tested and are not operational, according to the UCS.
The United States Nuclear History and Present.
The current United States nuclear arsenal sits at 4,800 weapons with 1,900 of them being deployed on long-range missile systems and bombers, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2015.
President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin both agreed to a newer version of the START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which bars each country from having more than 6,000 nuclear warheads among other nuclear disarmament policies.
However, START does not cover short-range “tactical” weapons. The United States currently has deployed an estimated 200 short-range weapons with an additional 300 in storage, according to the UCS. Russia has an estimated 2,000 such weapons in storage.
In August of 2015, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work spoke before the House Armed Services Committee about the future of the United States nuclear deterrence.
“A strong nuclear deterrent force will remain critical to our national security for the foreseeable future,” Work said, adding that modernizing our current nuclear arsenal is essential.
However, modernizing the United States nuclear arsenal may be a violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or NPT for short.
Article VI of the NPT states that nuclear weapon states must do whatever they can to make sure the nuclear arms race does not continue.
In that same meeting, Work spoke specifically about North Korea’s aim to develop and deploy long-range nuclear weapons.
The DoD did not respond to attempts for comment on Article VI of the NPT.