N. Korea's Hydrogen Bomb Claim: What to Know - NBC Bay Area
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N. Korea's Hydrogen Bomb Claim: What to Know



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    In this Sunday, March 31, 2013 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed in Tokyo Monday, April 1, 2013 by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a speech during a plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea.

    North Korea's claim that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb set off international alarm bells, but can Pyongyang's claim be trusted?

    The announcement was a message from Kim Jong Un who wants to cement his status at home as a leader while simultaneously showing the outside world that Pyongyang is a force to be reckoned with, according to analysts.

    The country is believed to have a handful of nuclear warheads and has carried out three previous nuclear tests since 2006. That doesn't mean North Korea is all the way there: Pyongyang lacks the missile technology to launch those weapons long distances, according to Western officials and experts.

    If authentic, Wednesday's test would mark the first North Korean nuclear test involving a hydrogen bomb. However, experts say North Korea has a tendency to exaggerate its nuclear prowess and lacks the technological capability to produce a hydrogen bomb.

    The U.S. should still be worried. North Korea could acquire that capability within the next few years, one expert said.