Korean and American observers picked up a 5.1 earthquake in North Korea’s Kilju region at 11:57 am, meaning that in all likelihood, North Korea has just pulled ahead of Japan in the rankings for Asia’s most nuked nation.
For what it’s worth, CFC has lowered its “Watch Condition” from 3 to 2.
UPDATE: A Defense Ministry spokesman estimated the nuke test at six to seven kilotons. Or it would be six to seven kilotons if it were a nuke test, which has not been officially confirmed. Anyway, if it was a nuke test, it produced a bigger bang than the 2009 test.
UPDATE 2: David Sanger tweeted a funny:
NK conundrum: US offers to negotiate, they test. US freezes them out, they test. China warns them, they test. Maybe they just want to test.
— David Sanger (@SangerNYT) February 12, 2013
UPDATE 3: A (South) Korean government official told Yonhap that North Korea informed the United States, China and Russia yesterday that it would conduct a nuke test. They’ve notified the United States and China prior to their past tests, too.
UPDATE 4: Now the KCNA is reporting the test, bragging that not only was it more powerful, but the warhead was miniaturized and lightened. Oh, and fear not, tree huggers—the KCNA proudly noted that surrounding ecological environment was not impacted by the test.