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(LEAD) N. Korea's sixth nuke test estimated to have yield of 100 kilotons: lawmaker

2017/09/03 17:45

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SEOUL, Sept. 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's sixth nuclear test was estimated to have a yield of up to 100 kilotons, about three to five times stronger than the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, the chief of the parliament's defense committee said Sunday.

Citing a report from the military authorities, Kim Young-woo said that the explosive power of the apparent nuke tested Sunday appeared to be much stronger than the North's fifth one estimated to have a yield of 10 kilotons. One kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT.

"(The North's latest test) is estimated to have a yield of up to 100 kilotons, though it is a provisional report," Kim of the minor opposition Bareun Party told Yonhap News Agency over the phone. "The test will be a very crucial political and strategic inflexion point."

  

Rep. Kim Young-woo of the minor opposition Bareun Party speaks during a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on Sept. 3, 2017. (Yonhap) Rep. Kim Young-woo of the minor opposition Bareun Party speaks during a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on Sept. 3, 2017. (Yonhap)

Kim also pointed out the need for the Moon Jae-in administration to make a decision over whether to stick to its peace initiative that seeks to re-engage with the belligerent state through both sanctions and dialogue.

During a press conference later, the lawmaker said the North's latest provocation has already crossed the "red line," and that the South faces the "greatest" security crisis since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

"The rules of game have completely changed when it comes to the security issues on the peninsula," Kim told reporters. "Now, the North will declare itself a nuclear power."

   Earlier in the day, the North conducted what it claims to have been a test of a hydrogen bomb mountable on an intercontinental ballistic missile, in a stinging blow to Moon's peace overtures. The South's weather agency detected a magnitude 5.7 earthquake from the North's Pyunggye-ri nuclear test site.

Pyongyang carried out nuke experiments in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016.

sshluck@yna.co.kr

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