The White House just threw cold water on North Korea's purported hydrogen-bomb test
White House press secretary Josh Earnest suggested strongly on Wednesday that the North Korean regime was lying when it claimed to have successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb the day before.
"We're obviously going to continue to look at this by monitoring the situation, assessing the available data and evidence," Earnest said at his regular media briefing.
He continued: "But the initial analysis is not consistent with the claims that the regime has made of a successful hydrogen-bomb test."
North Korea announced Tuesday night that it had set off a hydrogen-bomb explosion, which would represent a significant advancement of its nuclear arsenal. However, many experts said they were skeptical of that claim.
See photos related to the explosion:
The White House appeared to be in full agreement with those skeptics.
"There's nothing that's occurred in the last 24 hours that has caused the US government to change our assessment of North Korea's technical and military capabilities," Earnest said.
"Now, I hasten to add that we're continuing the work necessary to learn more on the nuclear test that North Korea conducted last night," he added. "But you've probably seen by now the extensive independent analysis that's been done in the United States and in other countries that includes significant and understandable skepticism of the claims of the North Korean regime."
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The New York Times reported that though some outside experts said they do not believe North Korea does not have the ability to create hydrogen bombs, the country could have been preparing to test "a boosted fission bomb, more powerful than a traditional nuclear weapon."
Earnest said that, regardless of what type of nuclear device North Korea used, "any kind of nuclear test like the one that North Korea conducted last night is provocative" and would send the so-called Hermit Kingdom deeper into international isolation.
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He went on to highlight the fact the fact that it wasn't just the US' closest regional allies — South Korea and Japan — who criticized North Korea's purported hydrogen-bomb announcement.
"It is also notable that our collective statements are echoed by countries like China and Russia, with whom we don't always agree," he said. "We've already seen quite strong statements from those countries."
As far as how the US would confront North Korea's latest provocation, Earnest vowed that President Barack Obama would continue to advance the US interests "through principled, focused, tenacious, diplomatic engagement."
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