Tremors from a 4.7 magnitude artificial earthquake were detected just before ten o'clock local time, after North Korea detonated a bomb in a bunker six miles underground.
The rogue state, which had previously tested a nuclear weapon in October 2006, boasted that its latest test was more powerful "in terms of its explosive power" and more technologically-advanced.We successfully conducted another underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of measures aimed at strengthening our self-defence nuclear deterrent in every way," said the state-run North Korean news wire.
The test will "contribute to safeguarding our sovereignty and socialism and guaranteeing peace and safety on the Korean peninsula and the surrounding region," it added.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he condemned North Korea's announcement that it has conducted a nuclear test "in the strongest terms".
"This act will undermine prospects for peace on the Korean peninsula and will do nothing for North Korea's security.
"The international community will treat North Korea as a partner if it behaves responsibly. If it does not, then it can expect only renewed isolation."
The test site was around 230 miles north east of Pyongyang, according to the United States Geological Survey. The location is just a few miles from where North Korea tested its first nuclear device in 2006.
Yonhap, the South Korean news wire, also reported that a single ground-to-air missile, with a range of 80 miles, was fired from a launch site nearby just a few hours later. The rogue state is not thought to have yet developed a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, experts said.
North Korea has repeatedly warned in the past month that it intends to restart its nuclear programme and build up its arsenal of nuclear weapons. Pyongyang was furious in April after the United Nations Security Council issued a rebuke against it for testing a long-range missile. The United States believed the missile was a weapon capable of striking continental America.
According to the BBC....
Defence officials in neighbouring Russia say it was an explosion of up to 20 kilotons, making it comparable to the American bombs that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.On a funnier note, the Onion is reporting that Kim Jong Il Announced Plan To Bring Moon To North Korea. =)