Monitoring reactions to North Korea's 6th nuclear test on shortwave

Monday, September 04, 2017
Graphic from the United States Geological Survey showing the location of seismic activity at the time of the test
From Wikipedia:
North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test on 3 September 2017, according to Japanese and South Korean officials. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also concluded that North Korea conducted a nuclear test. The United States Geological Survey reported an earthquake of 6.3-magnitude not far from North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site. 
South Korean authorities said the earthquake seemed to be artificial, consistent with a nuclear test. The USGS, as well as China's earthquake administration, reported that the initial event was followed by a second, smaller, earthquake at the site, several minutes later, which was characterized as a collapse of the cavity. 
North Korea claimed that it detonated a hydrogen bomb that can be loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with great destructive power. 
Photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting a device resembling a thermonuclear weapon warhead were released a few hours before the test.

Using my portable spectrum capture setup, I recorded the 22 and 19 meter bands between 13:30 and 14:30 UTC and the 31 meter band between 16:00 and 17:00 UTC on the day of the nuclear test. Below are the news bulletins I extracted from these two recordings, which demonstrate varying reactions to this event from the relevant international players:

First, the news in English from the DPRK's state broadcaster, Voice of Korea, with the formal announcement starting at 5 minutes, 6 seconds into the video:

South Korea's reaction, broadcast via KBS World Radio, was characteristically terse:

Voice of America interviewed their own White House correspondent who lamented that nothing is working to steer North Korea away from the path of nuclearisation:

Meanwhile, China Radio International considered DPRK's nuclear test as worthy of only the number 3 spot in their list of headlines. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising: some analysts have opined that Kim Jong Un had deliberately timed the nuclear test to coincide with Xi Jinping opening the annual BRICS summit in China as a show of defiance towards the Chinese leader.

These are interesting times to be monitoring shortwave radio broadcasts, and in this case particularly so because North Korea uses the medium extensively to inform the world about its activities while investing relatively little into other methods of communication.

About the author

This blog is written by a shortwave radio enthusiast based in London, UK. You can follow him on Twitter at @LondonShortwave