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North Korea just caused a 5.3 magnitude earthquake with its biggest nuclear warhead test yet

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How do you solve a problem like (North) Korea?

That’s sure to be the question on the lips of world leaders today after the despot state confirmed that a 5.3 magnitude earthquake detected near a North Korean military site on Friday was a nuclear test – its fifth overall.

And if that wasn’t alarming enough, state media also claimed, hours after the seismic blast, that it was now capable of mounting a warhead to a strategic ballistic missile, giving the military an even greater range.

In response to the events, China is carrying out a radiation test along its border and Japan has sent out planes to take air samples. However, North Korean officials claim that no radioactive material leaked from this blast - and it can take weeks to determine exactly what may or may have not escaped into the atmosphere.

According to neighbouring South Korea, the blast involved 10 kilotonnes of explosives, enough to make it the communist state’s biggest-ever test (by reference, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima by US forces had a yield of about 15 kilotonnes).

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The state media announcement that followed the blast

Under UN sanctions, North Korea is banned from any tests of nuclear or missile technology. And yet in recent months the famine-hit nation has been carrying out a series of ballistic missile launches, with one even reaching Japanese waters, raising tensions in the region.

The response to the test from world leaders has been rather unsurprising: South Korean President Park Geun-hye called it an act of "self-destruction" showing the "maniacal recklessness" of leader Kim Jong-un, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his nation "absolutely cannot condone" any test of this kind, and the US warned of "serious consequences”.

What this obviously calls for is a peacemaker who can fly over and calm Jong-Un down. The sort of diplomat with a superb grasp of geopolitics. Has anyone got Dennis Rodman's number?

[Images: NK State Media]

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