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N. Korea’s Hydrogen Bomb Claim: What to Know

North Korea Koreas Tension
AP

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. 

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