North Korea carried out its third nuclear weapons test yesterday, provoking a wave of concern and condemnation around the world.
|The UN Security Council
(Image: UN Photo / JC McIlwaine
The country said "The test was conducted in a safe and perfect way on a high level with the use of a smaller and light A-Bomb unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power." Adding that, "it was confirmed that the test did not give any adverse effect on the surrounding ecological environment."
The underground test was detected by the network of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), which described it as a "seismic event with explosion-like characteristics". It was roughly twice as destructive as the test in 2009, and "much larger" than the first test in 2006, which was seen as only a partial success. All three occurred in the same place in the country's north east. The organisation's chief, Tibor Tóth called the test "a clear threat to international peace and security."
Currently barred from gauging the scale of activities in North Korea, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, said the test was "deeply regrettable and in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions." That body called an emergency meeting "to discuss possible collective action" it said. UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon called the test "deplorable", saying it was "deeply destabilizing" for the region.
A state of war still officially exists on the Korean Peninsula, with constant tension between the North and South states that have evolved in dramatically different ways since separation after World War II. Apart from fundamental issues regarding democracy, freedom and development, they also have opposing approaches to nuclear energy: In South Korea nuclear power generation has supported a manufacturing export economy, while North Korea has no nuclear power but uses a military program as a political tool.
The test came two days into the Lunar New Year celebrated by Korean people and one day before US President Barack Obama's State of The Union address. His predeccessor George Bush famously described North Korea as part of an 'Axis of Evil' in the 2002 speech. At the US Department of State, secretary John Kerry was sworn in only on 1 February.
Along with missile launch two months ago, the test serves to complete another total reversal of stance by North Korea: In February last year leader Kim Jong Un declared an end to tests in exchange for US food aid shortly after taking power following the death of his father Kim Jong Il.
The US government has not yet commented, but the Department of State moved under the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act to tighten sanctions on 11 February. It added more companies and individuals to sanction lists representing a range of entities from Belarus, China and Iran, Sudan and Venezuela on suspicion that they had traded items that could contribute to programs to develop missiles or weapons of mass destruction.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News