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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


World Condemns North Korea Nuclear Test

By VOA News
25 May 2009

The international community responded swiftly with outrage and condemnation on Monday to reports of North Korea's nuclear test and firing of three short-range missiles.

U.S. President Barack Obama said North Korea's actions are violations of international law that constitute a "threat to international peace and security." Mr. Obama said North Korea's activities warrant action by the international community.

The top U.S. military official, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, said the North Korean tests were not a surprise and are part of what he called growing belligerence on the part of Pyongyang. Mullen told CNN that it could take a couple of days to verify the test, but he had no reason to doubt North Korea's claims.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is deeply worried and that any nuclear test would be a clear violation of a 2006 U.N. Security Council resolution banning North Korea from such acts. He said he plans to consult with the Council when it meets in a special session later Monday.

North Korea says it successfully conducted an underground nuclear test that was more powerful than the country's first test two-and-a-half years ago. South Korea's Yonhap news agency also reports that North Korea test-fired three short-range missiles in the hours after the nuclear test.

Seismologists from around the world reported a tremor in northeast North Korea, near where Pyongyang conducted its first test in October 2006.

Russia's Defense Ministry said the nuclear explosion had a force of up to 20 kilotons, the same size as the bomb the U.S. dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945.

South Korean officials called Pyongyang's actions a "serious threat to peace and stability" in the region. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak convened an emergency security session immediately after news broke of the nuclear test.

The Chinese government said it is "resolutely opposed" to its communist neighbor and ally's actions. It also urged Pyongyang to avoid actions that sharpen tensions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that six-party talks on North Korea are the only solution to the crisis.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana threatened a "firm response" to what he called "irresponsible acts" by North Korea.

The Japanese government said it has set up a task force at the crisis management center of Prime Minister Taro Aso's office.

Last month, North Korea threatened to restart reprocessing work at its once closed Yongbyon nuclear complex. The move was a response to international criticism of its April launch of a rocket it says was fired to put a satellite into space.

The United States and other countries believe the rocket was a test launch for a ballistic missile.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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