According to South Korean officials, on Tuesday North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in seven years, which caused tremors on the peninsula, the Associated Press has reported. It was the first since Kim Jong-un came to power in 2011. Authorities in South Korea raised the national threat level after the 5.1 magnitude earthquake, which was detected by the U.S. Geological Survey, and South Korean monitoring stations. The epicenter appeared to be located just north of the location where in 2009 North Korea conducted its second nuclear test. The isolated country conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, affirming its membership into the nuclear club.
According to Kim Min-seok, a South Korean defense ministry spokesman, North Korean officials had actually told the governments in Seoul and Washington, D.C. of its intent to carry out this nuclear test, although it is unclear when this disclosure took place.
The nuclear test is the country's first since Kim Jong-un ascended to power after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in December 2011. North Korea's government maintains tight control over most facets of life in what is the closest thing to a totalitarian regime left in the world. The communist country is notorious for having a cult of personality surrounding its "Dear Leaders," and spends inordinate amounts of resources devoted toward achieving this. While Kim Jong-il was alive, he was not officially recognized as the president of the country, but rather party leader. The title of president was, and still is, held by his father, Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994.
Last week, a bizzare North Korean propaganda video made its way onto YouTube, feature low-budget animation of New York City being bombarded with missiles until destruction.