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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian lawmakers condemn North Korea's nuke tests

RIA Novosti

15:1125/05/2009 MOSCOW, May 25 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian senator condemned North Korea's nuclear tests on Monday warning that the move could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.

Pyongyang earlier said it had conducted a successful underground nuclear test on May 25 "as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defense."

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that following the nuclear test North Korea also test fired a ground-to-air missile with a range of 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its northeastern Musudan-ri launch site.

"By persisting with its nuclear program, the North Korean authorities could face tough sanctions, therefore placing the population on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe," said Mikhail Margelov, head of the Federation Council's international affairs committee.

He said he was confident that the reaction from the international community would be "tough" and urged the United Nations and other international organizations to respond appropriately to Pyongyang's move.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier expressed concern over North Korea's announcement on its second nuclear test since the withdrawal in 2003 from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"I am sure the UN Security Council will condemn North Korea's actions unanimously at today's meeting. Pyongyang should realize it will fail to keep us hooked eternally," the lawmaker said.

Margelov also said the nuclear test negated all diplomatic efforts already taken to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Ruslan Kondratov, Margelov's counterpart in the lower house, the State Duma, said Pyongyang had continued to blackmail the world demanding additional material benefits.

"North Korea has got accustomed to deterrence policies, deliberately creating tension across the entire political world with a view to obtaining additional material resources," Kondratov said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Under deals reached in 2007, the North began disabling a nuclear reactor and other facilities at Yongbyon under U.S. supervision in exchange for economic aid and political incentives.

The reclusive communist regime had been threatening for several weeks to resume work at its Yongbyon nuclear facility, which produces weapons-grade plutonium, after withdrawing from six-nation talks. The move came in response to international condemnation of an April 5 rocket launch, which Pyongyang said was carrying a communications satellite.

North Korea also said it would conduct further nuclear tests and rocket launches to ensure its security and defense capability.

However, Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, a former military cooperation chief at the Russian General Staff, and now president of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems, said North Korea's test posed no danger either to Russia or to any other country in the region.

"North Korea's nuclear test is an attempt by the country to balance the nuclear potential deployed on the Korean peninsula. The North Korean authorities have repeatedly called for removing [suspected U.S.] warheads and offering security guarantees against aggression," Ivashov said.


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