North Korea's sixth nuclear test


Mar 9, 2013
Maryland, USA
This was mentioned in another thread but I am interested in a separate/focused discussion.

Wikipedia page* describing test (with minimal commentary): 2017 North Korean nuclear test - Wikipedia

Possible image of the device tested:

The lowest estimate of yield for this test that I've seen so far is ~50-60 kt, with *early* (obviously very early) consensus seeming to focus on the 100 kt mark. Assuming that and the image are correct, it seems probable that what was tested was a "true" two stage device. I personally feel like this is a bit of a game changer, due to its relatively small size and the fact that it means they have upgraded to the level. Given the increased yield for a given volume and weight this implies, this feels, to me at least, like a big change in the sort of power they can dish out in general or mount on a missile or drop by aircraft.

Related is the increased capability of North Korean missiles - even if they were not increasing in increased range capabilities, the possibility of increased accuracy seems like a reasonable cause for concern.

Regardless of whether that warhead is dropped by plane or missile, on American military abroad or on American soil, wouldn't this represent a huge increase in capability and therefore threat, both to American allies and American/international interests?

As said, I think it is (assuming data available on both warhead and missile tests so far are accurate), however it seems to be falling under the radar a bit it feels like. I only follow these issues as an amateur and know many here have much more relevant knowledge, so....what do you think? Is this and other recent (last ~2 months) developments game changers, or not really? If it is, why the lack of attention?

For the last question, if there is a genuine lack of attention, I posit that competition with domestic issues is crowding the story out or it simply hasn't had time to spread yet.

* Note: There are a lot of news articles about the test with varying amounts of commentary - I figure the wiki page provides the main info. If people disagree will add a news article instead.