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UN Condemns N’Korea Nuclear Test

February 13, 2013

The UN Security Council has promised action against North Korea over its third nuclear test, calling it a clear threat to international security.

At an emergency meeting, the UN said it would begin work on measures to halt the North’s nuclear ambitions, reports the BBC.

The US called the test highly provocative, while China, Pyongyang’s sole key ally, said it was strongly dissatisfied.

Monitors said the test appeared twice as big as the previous test in 2009.

The test took place at the Punggye-ri site in the north-east of the country on Tuesday morning.

A powerful underground explosion was detected at 11:57 (02:57 GMT), followed three hours later by confirmation from North Korea that a test had taken place.

State-run KCNA news agency said the test was “carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturised and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously”.

North Korea said it was a response to the “reckless hostility of the United States”.

Nuclear test monitors in Vienna say the underground explosion had double the force of the last test, in 2009, despite the use of a device said by the North to be smaller.

If a smaller device was indeed tested, analysts said this could take Pyongyang closer to building a warhead small enough to arm a missile.

The UN Security Council met in an emergency session hours after the test. Members unanimously backed a statement calling the North in “grave violation” of UN resolutions.

“In line with this commitment and the gravity of this violation, the members of the Security Council will begin work immediately on appropriate measures in a Security Council resolution,” the council said.

US President Barack Obama and outgoing South Korea President Lee Myung-bak also held telephone talks, pledging to “seek a range of measures aimed at impeding North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and reducing the risk of proliferation”, a White House statement said.

Outgoing Pentagon chief Leon Panetta called North Korean military ambitions a “serious threat” that America had to be prepared to “deal with”.

China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, meanwhile, summoned North Korea’s ambassador in Beijing to express “firm opposition” to the test, the foreign ministry said.

But in a statement issued late on Tuesday, North Korea appeared far from cowed, promising “second and third tougher measures” if the US did not “admit its mistake and correct it”.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett, at the UN, says that so far isolation and pressure have been met by continued North Korean provocations. There is no sign that another round of sanctions will break that pattern.

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