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Nuclear test No. 5 by North Korea

Nuclear test No. 5 by North KoreaNorth Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test, North Korea's state TV confirmed hours after seismic monitors detected a blast near the secretive country's nuclear test site.

North Korea said its "scientists and technicians carried out a nuclear explosion test for the judgment of the power of a nuclear warhead," official KCNA news agency reported.

It said the country is now capable of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets. It also claimed no leakage of nuclear material had occurred in the test and that there was no environmental impact.

The explosion was determined as the most powerful one since North Korea started its tests in January. Jeffrey Lewis of the California-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies confirmed the highest estimates of seismic magnitude suggested this was the most powerful nuclear test conducted by North Korea so far. The blast was more intense than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

U.S. President Barack Obama, aboard Air Force One on his way home from Laos, said the test would be met with "serious consequences" and held talks with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the White House said.

Even China, North Korea's only major diplomatic ally, opposed the test and urged Pyongyang to stop taking any actions that would worsen the situation.

China's environment ministry began emergency radiation monitoring along its borders with North Korea in northeast China, state television reported.

Japan also promptly sent two military jets to begin measuring for radiation. Later on Friday Japan's nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said that no irregularities had been detected at about 300 Japanese radiation monitoring posts after North Korea's nuclear test.

In other case, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said on Friday he was committed to working closely with Japan, China, Russia and South Korea to put pressure on North Korea over the issue.

"The fact is, there is an accelerated pattern of very serious provocation that violates international law and threatens regional stability," Russel told reporters.
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