Pyongyang, Sep 9 (IANS) North Korea on Friday said it “successfully” conducted a nuclear test, its fifth and the “most powerful” so far, evoking strong condemnation from the global powers including US, China and Russia.
The North Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station said the country carried out a nuclear explosion test to check the capacity of a nuclear warhead and it will “continue to strengthen our capacity to bolster our nuclear force”.
The neighbouring South Korea’s Defence Ministry official quoted by Yonhap said that the military was analysing details on what type of nuclear material was used.
An artificial quake of magnitude 5.3 was detected around 9.30 a.m. at North Korea’s main Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
The official said the tremor felt after the test put the yield of this test at about 10 kilotons, which is believed to be Pyongyang’s most powerful nuclear detonation to date.
According to Yonhap, Pyongyang conducted the nuclear test to mark the country’s 68th National Day on September 9.
The test marked the fifth nuclear detonation by North Korea following the first in October 2006, the second in May 2009, the third in February 2013 and the fourth in January this year.
South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council.
President Park Geun-hye, who is cutting short her overseas trip to Laos, condemned the test, saying that its provocation would only invite stronger international sanctions, deeper isolation and hasten its self-destruction.
The US President Barack Obama warned that the latest test will have serious consequences. Terming the test as a “provocation” the President reiterated that Washington was committed to the security of its allies in Asia and the world.
China slammed it saying the country was “firmly opposed” to the test.
The International Atomic Energy Agency also denounced the test, terming it a “clear violation” of UN Security Council resolutions and a “troubling and regrettable” action.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said North Korea must be given a very strong message about complying with the resolutions.
Germany summoned the North Korean ambassador in Berlin after the test in “violation of UN resolutions”.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Steffen Seibert condemned the test and said it was an irresponsible action by North Korea to destabilise region.
Pakistan condemns the test and says “it was in violation of the United Nation Security Council Resolutions”.
Islamabad calls upon Pyongyang to comply with all the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and refrain from actions which undermine peace and stability in the region.
Indian Security analyst C. Uday Bhaskar said the choice of the day for the test was not accidental as the North Korean regime was founded on September 9, 1948.
“Authoritarian regimes tend to use such temporal symbolism and combine it with emotive nationalism,” said Bhaskar, who is Director, Society for Policy Studies.
Britain termed the nuclear test a matter of “grave concern” and said it would consult with international partners on providing a “robust response”.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said North Korea’s nuclear test was “unacceptable” and would be protested.
“It is simply unacceptable. We must strongly protest against it,” Abe said, adding that Japan would liaise closely on the matter with the US and South Korea.
The European Union also denounce the test saying that it was a “grave threat to the peace and security”.
The test also comes days after the UNSC condemned the launch on Monday of three ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.
North Korea is banned by the UN from any tests of nuclear or missile technology and has been hit by five sets of UN sanctions since its first test in 2006.
Pyongyang has conducted a series of ballistic missile launches since top North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave an order on March 15 to test a nuclear warhead and ballistic rockets capable of carrying the warhead “in a short time”.