—North Korea announced it successfully carried out its fifth nuclear test, by many estimates its most powerful test yet.
—South Korea, Japan, and China have all criticized the test.
—We’re live-blogging the major updates. All updates are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).
President Obama, in a statement, called the test “a grave threat to regional security and to international peace and stability.”
Today's test, North Korea's second this year, follows an unprecedented campaign of ballistic missile launches, which North Korea claims are intended to serve as delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons targeting the United States and our allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan. As Commander in Chief, I have a responsibility to safeguard the American people and ensure that the United States is leading the international community in responding to this threat and North Korea's other provocations with commensurate resolve and condemnation.
Obama said he’d spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan about the test, and “restated … the unshakable U.S. commitment to take necessary steps to defend our allies in the region … guaranteed by the full spectrum of U.S. defense capabilities.”
North Korea confirmed the test via a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency:
Scientists and technicians of the DPRK carried out a nuclear explosion test for the judgment of the power of a nuclear warhead newly studied and manufactured by them at the northern nuclear test ground under the plan of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) for building strategic nuclear force. …
The nuclear test finally examined and confirmed the structure and specific features of movement of nuclear warhead that has been standardized to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets of the Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army as well as its performance and power. …
The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable the DPRK to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power with a firm hold on the technology for producing and using various fissile materials. This has definitely put on a higher level the DPRK's technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets.
China, North Korea’s closest ally, criticized the test in a statement issued by its Foreign Ministry, saying it firmly opposes the test. The country’s Ministry of Environmental Protection started radiation monitoring at the country’s northeastern border with North Korea.