Tensions in the two Koreas continue to rise. South Korea has now confirmed that radioactive gas from North Korea’s recent nuclear test has been detected. The xenon gas is even more evidence that the North’s claims are true, though it has still not been confirmed that the device was actually a hydrogen bomb, as claimed.
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The North stands by its assertions that they’ve detonated a hydrogen bomb. The country claims it has also made significant advancements in weaponizing the warheads. The country claims it can now pace warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
Xenon-133, the gas detected by South Korea, has been associated with the North’s nuclear tests in the past. The gas does not occur naturally.
“The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission [NSSC] said its land-based xenon detector in the northeastern part of the country found traces of xenon-133 isotope on nine occasions, while its mobile equipment off the country’s east coast detected traces of the isotope four times,” CNBC writes.
“‘It was difficult to find out how powerful the nuclear test was with the amount of xenon detected, but we can say the xenon was from North Korea,” Choi Jongbae, NSSC executive commissioner, said.
The gas is odorless and colorless, and doesn’t pose an immediate threat to the population of South Korea. Yet it is an indication that the reports are true, and the increase in volume of the gas may allow estimations into the size of the explosion.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world is trying to find a meaningful way to dissuade North Korea from acting on its threats. The United Nations Security Council, including Russia and China, voted unanimously Monday to pass more sanctions on North Korea.
As American Military News reports ” the sanctions, while watered down from original drafts, fully ban the country’s textile exports and reduce its oil and petroleum exports. This means about 90 percent of North Korea’s exports are now banned, as well as a complete ban on the country’s overseas laborers that provide nearly $500 million in revenue. Additionally, all foreign investment with North Korea is cut off, and the regime’s assets will be frozen.”