North Korea's claim Wednesday to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb ignited "another tinderbox in the world besides the Middle East," said former ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson.
While doubting the detonation was actually as powerful as a hydrogen bomb, he pointed out on CNBC's "Squawk Box" this was Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test since 2006. "I don't think this was a hydrogen bomb," Richardson said. "It was apparently six kilotons. A hydrogen bomb is 20."
The office of a South Korean lawmaker on the parliamentary intelligence committee reported the six-kiloton size of the test, roughly the same size as the North's last test, which was equivalent to six to seven kilotons of TNT.
"It basically says to the world, 'Hey we're around. You can't just deal with Iran and the Middle East,' " Richardson said. "And it also says to the world, 'We're going to develop a nuclear arsenal regardless ... and it's not going to be a bargaining chip.' "
Richardson, who served as energy secretary during President Bill Clinton's administration, stressed the gravity of North Korea's aggression. "This is a very serious situation. Some real high-level diplomacy — mainly the U.S., China, and now Russia, which is another friend of North Korea — need to engage more than we have."