NKorean missile reportedly explodes seconds after launch
SKorean defence officials said a missile launch by the North failed, but didn't comment on what was being tested, or how many were fired. The US military reported it had detected a missile exploding seconds after launch. Though NKorea is banned from missile or nuclear tests, it has increasingly conducted them. It is believed to be developing a ballistic missile that could attack US.
About North Korea and its nuclear programs
For over decades now, North Korea has been the most secretive country; its nuclear weapons program has its roots in the 1950s. It is believed that the country possesses over 1,000 missiles of different capabilities, including long-range ones that could strike the US. The country's nuclear program progressed over decades; from tactical artillery rockets during the 1960-70s to the present day's nuclear warheads.
North Korea joined the NPT in 1985
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty came into force in 1970. Its objective is to avoid the spread of nuclear weapons technology, encourage peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and achieve nuclear disarmament. North Korea joined the NPT in 1985; the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) charged N-Korea of violating the treaty in 1993. Amid suspicions that it was developing nuclear weapons, N-Korea threatened to quit NPT.
N-Korea was violating the NPT
In 2002, the US revealed N-Korea was violating the treaty and operating a secret nuclear program; while N-Korea expelled IAEA inspectors. In 2003, after quitting the NPT, N-Korea reactivated its nuclear facilities; it tested missiles and declared that it possessed nuclear weapons. After the failure of talks between N-Korea, S-Korea, US, China, and Japan during 2003-06, N-Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006.
Nuclear weapon tests in North Korea
In October 2006, North Korea announced it had conducted its first nuclear weapon test with a yield of 1 kilotonne. In May 2009, a second nuclear device with a yield of 5 kilotonnes was detonated. In February 2013, the third nuclear test with a yield of 6-7 kilotonnes was conducted. The tests invited harsh condemnation and international sanctions that aimed to cripple N-Korea's economy.
North Korea claims successful thermonuclear detonation
On 6 Jan'16, North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon of unknown yield, which was claimed by the country as a hydrogen bomb. N-Korean state media reported the test conducted near Punggye-Ri nuclear facility was successful. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center said the epicenter of the detonation was 2km underground. The nuclear weapon test caused a seismic yield of 5.1, according to the US Geological Survey.
Sanctions to follow N. Korea's latest nuclear test
US Special Envoy to North Korea, Sung Kim stated that the US, Japan and South Korea were considering imposing unilateral sanctions against North Korea after its latest nuclear test. These sanctions will be in addition to UN Security council sanctions that are to be imposed shortly. The North however, defended the tests saying is was to protect North Korean interests against US blackmail.
North Korea to test launch of ICBM
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said that his country was close to testing the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. In a televised New Year's Day speech, Kim said, "Research and development of arms equipment is actively progressing and ICBM rocket test launch preparation is in its last stage." North Korea has been under UN sanctions for nuclear and ballistic missile tests since 2006.
US deploys attack drones to South Korea
Amid ongoing tensions with North Korea, the US has decided to permanently station a MQ-1C Gray Eagle attack drone system at the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. Authorities said the deployment would take place in other regions as well and would be completed by next year. Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the drones would aid "intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability."
North Korea conducts advanced engine test
According to North Korean state media, the country has successfully tested a new high-thrust rocket engine, declaring the test a "new birth" for Pyongyang's space industry. They said the engine will give North Korea enhanced satellite launch capabilities. Kim Jong-un celebrated the occasion, saying "the world will soon witness the great significance of the epoch-making victory we achieved today."