North Korea appeared to conduct its third, and probably largest, nuclear test on Tuesday, according to American and Asian officials, posing a new challenge for the Obama administration in its effort to keep the country from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.
While North Korea’s official news outlets were silent about the test, many nations detected seismic activity centered near the same location where the North conducted tests in 2006 and 2009. The United States Geological Survey said it was only a kilometer underground, an indication consistent with a nuclear blast. And in Vienna, the organization that monitors the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty said that tremor had “clear explosionlike characteristics.”
Preliminary estimates suggested a test far larger than the previous two conducted by the North, though probably less powerful than the first bomb the United States dropped on Japan, in Hiroshima, in 1945.
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