IMGXYZ15964IMGZYXAppearing on PBS's NewsHour, Carnegie's James Acton said that most people believe that Pyongyang's long term goal is developing a ballistic missile armed with a nuclear warhead that can threaten the United States. "In order to do that," said Acton, "you need a miniaturized, physically smaller and lighter nuclear device, so Pyongyang is claiming that is has successfully done that."  

North Korea carried out a nuclear test underground at a remote location in the northeastern part of the country, prompting new fears and international condemnation. This is third nuclear test by North Korea since 2006 and the first test under the new leader, Kim Jong-un.

The U.N. Security Council voted just weeks ago to impose additional sanctions on North Korea. This latest test forced the Council into an emergency session where members condemned the actions and discuss more sanctions. Even China, North Korea’s sole ally, condemned the act, Acton said.

Acton clarified that the size of the device tested and the material it was made from remain unknown. "In fact, we don't even know definitively that this was larger than the previous two tests," said Acton. However, he went on to say that this test demonstrates North Korea is "moving along its arc of developing nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States."