North Korea’s purpoted hydrogen bomb test is
a result of Pyongyang’s aggressive push to produce visible accomplishments and
boost Kim Jong Un’s legitimacy of being designated general secretary during a
rare Party Congress scheduled for May. The test, however, was rushed and in
effect a failure, Daily NK has learned.
“The North’s hydrogen test that was carried
out on the 6th was an impromptu move to idolize Kim Jong Un ahead of the 7th
Party Congress in May,” a source with knowledge of North Korean affairs told
South Korean lawmaker Ha Tae Kyung on Sunday. “Kim Jong Un needs a key
accomplishment to justify his debut as president and Workers’ Party general
secretary, so the test was put together impulsively.”
This news was confirmed by two Daily NK
sources in Pyongyang as well as South Korea’s National Intelligence Service.
“It being the first Party Congress in 36
years–the last was held in October 1980–there is the absolute need to have
something concrete and tangible to promote as Kim Jong Un’s legacy,” he said, explaining that the
achievement would have to be something grand that would suit the leader’s introduction
as president and general secretary. After deliberation, this “something” manifested as a thermonuclear test, he added.
“Kim Jong Un had focused on producing
results in the economic sector but after failing to turn out any significant
results he felt pressured and started turning his eyes toward the idea of
carrying out a hydrogen bomb test from late last year,” the source asserted. “In the latter
half of 2015, Kim Jong Un kept on pushing the thermonuclear team to complete
the bomb by early 2016.”
Only the five permanent UN Security Council
members–the U.S., China, Russia, France, and the UK–possess thermonuclear
weapons; thus, if the North were to possess a hydrogen bomb, it would rank among formidable global powers and accrue more fodder to tout accomplishments surpassing even those accomplished by Kim Jong Il in this domain during his reign. Kim Jong Un would have also surely figured this to be an effective means to dispel people’s disgruntlement
about the poor state of the economy, according to the source.
“But having been a hasty test based on
political goals, it was ultimately unsuccessful,” he contended. “Now, Kim Jong Un is anxious about and focused on making sure that news of this failure doesn’t become known to the outside world.”