The Chinese regime is on high alert for radiation seeping into China from North Korea’s latest nuclear test.
The test took place less than 50 miles from China’s border. The magnitude-6.3 earthquake could be felt by locals and Chinese hundreds of miles away as the nuclear test went off. A smaller tremor followed. It could be from a structural collapse after the first earthquake. The worry is that radiation was emitted into the atmosphere due to underground shifting, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Chinese regime said that testing centers haven’t detected radiation yet. Soil, air, and water will continue to be tested. Seismologist Steven Gibbons told WSJ that it may take days or weeks to detect radiation. An environmental issue could become a political issue if the regime thinks that it is being perceived as weak on North Korea.
Chinese officials are reported to have told South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye that North Korea’s nuclear testing in 2013 contaminated the Yalu River, which runs across the border between China and North Korea. Chinese officials neither confirm nor deny the comment, but since 2013 China has added several radiation-monitoring stations.
China had planned to add at least two more monitoring stations, to come some time after the latest nuclear test. This sixth test was the largest out of North Korea and 10 times bigger than last year’s test blast. A potential radiation leak is a great concern to the 100 million residents of China’s northeastern provinces. Exposure to the radioactive elements emitted in a blast could cause cancer or even death.
“If it turns out that there is fallout, and some leaking that threatens northeastern China, it will likely change China’s stance,” said Zhu Feng, an expert from Nanjing University. “It would need to tell people that it will keep [North Korea] under check.” China is North Korea’s biggest trade partner, aid donor, and investor.
Nuclear tests are conducted underneath a large mountain. The North Korean state-run news agency stiffly stated that the test went off without a problem. “There’s a lot of mountain to go before you reach air,” said Gibbons. But Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization head Lassina Zerbo said that a leak could spread over northeastern China and then into far eastern Russia over the week.
There is also worry that the nuclear tests could set off a volcano on the border that is known as Mount Changbai to Chinese and Mount Paektu to Koreans. Chinese locals near the Korean border are worried about the panic continued testing could create. The last test was already a huge shock.
Kim Jong Un has bragged about having the capability of reaching the United States with a nuclear-tipped ICBM. The United States has systems in place to detect any such launch, Fox New reported. Military spy satellites can pick up a heat and plume signature of a launched missile. The detection can be transferred to NORAD and to U.S. Strategic Command.
Missile defense can then be put into action by ground-based interceptors on the U.S. West Coast.