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Worldwide condemnation of N. Korea nuclear test
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 12, 2013

China expresses 'firm opposition' to N. Korea blast
Beijing (AFP) Feb 12, 2013 - China on Tuesday expressed "firm opposition" to North Korea's nuclear test, saying its wayward ally had gone ahead with the blast "despite widespread opposition from the international community".

"We strongly urge the DPRK (North Korea) to honour its commitment to denuclearisation, and not to take any actions which might worsen the situation," the foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website, using the official name for the North.

China is North Korea's most important backer, providing it with trade and aid that have enabled the state to survive for decades since the end of the Korean War.

But despite Chinese state-run media urging a tougher line in the run-up to the test, the foreign ministry statement contained no threat of any sanctions or reprisals.

"The Chinese government calls on all parties to respond calmly, solve the problem of denuclearisation of the peninsula through dialogue and consultation within the framework of the six-party talks," it said, in a re-iteration of Beijing's longstanding position.

N. Korea nuclear test 'grave threat to Japan': PM
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 12, 2013 - North Korea's nuclear test is a "grave threat" to Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday, hours after Pyongyang confirmed it had successfully detonated an atomic device.

"(The test) is a grave threat to the safety of our country and a serious challenge against the global framework of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation," Abe said in a statement.

"It cannot be tolerated, as it will significantly damage safety and peace in northeast Asia and the international community."

The hawkish Abe swept to power in a landslide election victory last December, in part due to his hardline stance on foreign policy.

Last month Japan launched two satellities in a move it said was intended to strengthen its surveillance capabilities and enhance national security.

The United States and China joined other world powers in a chorus of condemnation Tuesday after North Korea carried out a third nuclear test in defiance of stark international warnings.

US President Barack Obama called for "swift" and "credible" action after the underground blast as China expressed its "firm opposition" to the test and Russia also reportedly condemned it as a violation of UN resolutions.

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon said he was "gravely concerned about the negative impact of this deeply destabilizing act" as the UN Security Council prepared to hold an emergency session at 9:00 am in New York (1400 GMT).

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meanwhile called the test a "grave threat" to his country that "cannot be tolerated," while Britain called for a "robust response" to the test.

The provocative test flew in the face of the UN Security Council's warning last month of a "significant" response to any such move, and came hours before Obama was to deliver his annual State of the Union address to Congress.

Obama complained that the test was a "highly provocative act" that -- following the North's December 12 ballistic missile launch -- undermined regional stability and violated UN Security Council resolutions.

"North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a threat to US national security and to international peace and security," Obama said in a statement issued shortly before 2:00 am Washington time (0700 GMT).

"The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community," he said, adding that the United States would do whatever was necessary to defend its allies.

The United States, China, Russia and the other major powers face intense pressure to act over North Korea's defiance of sanctions imposed after previous tests in 2006 and 2009.

North Korea said it staged a successful test of a "miniaturized" bomb in a declaration that brought immediate global protests, with the UN nuclear watchdog calling it a "clear violation" of Security Council resolutions.

The UN secretary general also condemned the underground test as "a clear and grave violation" of the resolutions, spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

"It is deplorable that Pyongyang defied the strong and unequivocal call from the international community to refrain from any further provocative measures," Ban added, calling on North Korea to "reverse course."

The United States and South Korea, the council president for February, had both called for firm measures against North Korea if it went ahead with the long-anticipated nuclear test.

China, the isolated North's closest ally, expressed its "firm opposition" to the nuclear test in a foreign ministry statement that urged Pyongyang to "honor its commitment to denuclearisation."

Russia condemned the test as a violation of Security Council resolutions, according to the Interfax news agency, citing a foreign ministry source.

Beijing had made a special effort to try to head off the move, according to a UN diplomat who has taken part in recent consultations.

"The Chinese gave the North Koreans a strong warning against carrying out a test as it became apparent that it was imminent," said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"What the North Koreans have done now is a big challenge to the Chinese," the diplomat said, adding that China, Russia and the United States were likely to quickly agree on a tough response.

The envoy added that sanctions may not be agreed upon on Tuesday, but the "intention" would be made clear.

It took weeks for the Security Council to agree on statements and sanctions after North Korea's nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, and North Korea's sinking of a South Korean warship in 2010.

China has traditionally shielded its neighbor from international action, warning Western powers against any measures that could cause instability along its frontier.

But the Security Council ordered tougher sanctions against North Korea last month for a rocket launch it staged on December 12, triggering a defiant pledge by Pyongyang to bolster its nuclear deterrent.

The Security Council last month added North Korea's state space agency, a bank, four trading companies and four individuals to its sanctions list.

China agreed to add to the resolution a threat of "significant action" in response to any future North Korean nuclear test.

Full text of N. Korea statement announcing nuclear test
Seoul (AFP) Feb 12, 2013 - Here is the full text of the English-language statement by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, announcing Tuesday's nuclear test.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the North's official name. The Korean-language version of the statement referred to a "miniaturised" bomb, while the English text termed it a "smaller" device:

"The scientific field for national defence of the DPRK succeeded in the third underground nuclear test at the site for underground nuclear test in the northern part of the DPRK on Tuesday. The test was carried out as part of practical measures of counteraction to defend the country's security and sovereignty in the face of the ferocious hostile act of the U.S. which wantonly violated the DPRK's legitimate right to launch satellite for peaceful purposes.

"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.

"It was confirmed that the test did not give any adverse effect to the surrounding ecological environment. The specific features of the function and explosive power of the A-bomb and all other measurements fully tallied with the values of the design, physically demonstrating the good performance of the DPRK's nuclear deterrence that has become diversified.

"The nuclear test will greatly encourage the army and people of the DPRK in their efforts to build a thriving nation with the same spirit and mettle as displayed in conquering space, and offer an important occasion in ensuring peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region."


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