North Korea has begun its media victory lap over its alleged hydrogen bomb detonation last week, publishing an avalanche of exultant editorials praising dictator Kim Jong-un and publishing a photo of Kim with the nation’s leading nuclear scientists.
“The successful H-bomb test is a special event that settled the pent-up grudge of the fellow countrymen and dealt a merciless blow at the Korean nation’s sworn enemy, the U.S. imperialists working with bloodshot eyes to launch a nuclear war against the DPRK,” an article in the Rodong Sinmun, the nation’s state-run newspaper, declared today. “The DPRK, holding the treasured sword of justice serving the purposes of peace, prosperity and civilization of mankind, put a definite end to the imperialists’ unjust history of nuclear weapons,” a separate piece claimed.
In addition to taking credit for eliminating the entirety of America’s nuclear arsenal (and claiming Americans refer to North Korea only as “most fearful rival”), the Korean Central News Agency published a report documenting Kim Jong-un’s recent visit to the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces to congratulate the nation’s nuclear scientists. Calling the bomb “a self-defensive step for reliably defending the peace on the Korean Peninsula and the regional security from the danger of nuclear war caused by the U.S.-led imperialists,” the report claims that Kim demanded the soldiers and scientists working for North Korea “steer the whole society with soldier spirit, style and mettle” and continue developing weapons with which North Korea may threaten its neighbors. North Korean media published a photograph of Kim with the scientists.
International nuclear physics experts appear to agree almost unanimously that the seismic blast created by the weapon North Korea detonated last week could not have possibly come from a true hydrogen bomb, which relies on a small fission explosion to trigger a massive fusion-fueled chain reaction. The blast, a 5.1 on the Richter scale, is more akin to previous nuclear detonations North Korea has executed with fissile material.
In addition to praising itself in its own publications, the North Korean government has reportedly began to blast propaganda praising Kim Jong-un into South Korea across the border. The broadcasts have begun in retaliation for South Korea’s decision to begin broadcasting their own propaganda – messages insulting Kim Jong-un mixed in with soap operas and K-pop music – into North Korea on Sunday, Kim’s birthday. North Korea has reponded by installing speakers on their side of the border, pointing towards South Korea, a significantly smaller escalation than the last time South Korea began its broadcasts, when it declared them an “open act of war.”
South Korean reports indicate the North Korean broadcasts are significantly less effective than their counterparts, however. “We are not sure if it’s an issue of electric power or the performance of the loudspeakers, but the sound is very weak,” a government source told South Korean outlet Yonhap. Nonetheless, Pyongyang appears to have installed the weak speakers in “every location where we are broadcasting,” the source added.
The international community is preparing to take punitive measures against North Korea for its activity last week. The United Nations has announced that it is planning “significant” action, though it has not indicated whether this will be in the form of sanctions and, if so, how new sanctions will differ from the mostly inconsequential previous bans on trading with the rogue nation. South Korea, Japan, and the United States are scheduled to discuss a response together today, while South Korea independently conducts talks with North Korea’s closest ally, China, regarding how to react to the detonation.