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The UN Security Council has gathered in New York for urgent talks.
Pyongyang – North Korea said Tuesday that it had conducted a new, more powerful underground nuclear test using more sophisticated technology, jolting the already fragile security situation in Northeast Asia and drawing condemnation from around the globe, CNN informs. It is the first nuclear test carried out under the North’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, who appears to be sticking closely to his father’s policy of building up the isolated state’s military deterrent to keep its foes at bay, shrugging off the resulting international condemnation and sanctions. Although Pyongyang had announced plans for the test in recent, vitriolic statements, its decision to go ahead with it provided a stark reminder of a seemingly intractable foreign policy challenge for President Barack Obama ahead of his State of the Union address later Tuesday. The test was designed “to defend the country’s security and sovereignty in the face of the ferocious hostile act of the U.S.,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, referring to new U.S.-led sanctions on Pyongyang after the recent launch of a long-range rocket.
The United States will try to determine if North Korea has tested a uranium weapon for the first time, a senior White House official said. The first two were plutonium bombs. Despite the North’s claims of progress Tuesday, analysts say they believe it is still years away from having the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead on a missile.
After Pyongyang confirmed it had gone ahead with the test in defiance of international pressure, world leaders responded with condemnation. “This is a highly provocative act” that threatens regional stability, breaches U.N. resolutions and increases the risk of proliferation, Obama said in a statement. “North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a threat to U.S. national security and to international peace and security,” he said, calling for “further swift and credible action by the international community.” “It is a clear and grave violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions,” the office of Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, said in a statement referring to the test. The United Nations Security Council will meet in New York on Tuesday morning to discuss the development, a Security Council diplomat said, declining to be identified because of U.N. protocol on such matters. South Korea, which chairs the Security Council at the moment, said the test presented “an unforgivable threat to the Korean peninsula’s peace and safety.”
Iran urges to destroy all atomic weapons
Iran has confirmed that its higher-grade enriched uranium is being converted into reactor fuel, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson announced. He also called for destruction of all nuclear arms following N. Korea’s third nuclear test, RT.com informs. “We need to come to the point where no country has any nuclear weapons and at the same time all weapons of mass destruction and nuclear arms need to be destroyed,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told state news agency IRNA. However, countries should have the right to “make use of nuclear activities for peaceful purposes,” he added.