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‘N. Korea nuclear test a grave threat’

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North Korea has confirmed it conducted a nuclear test hours after seismic monitors detected a blast.

US President Barack Obama vowed to push for new international sanctions in retaliation for North Korea’s latest nuclear test. Picture: AP.

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama vowed on Friday to push for new international sanctions in retaliation for North Korea’s latest nuclear test, condemning it as “a grave threat to regional security and to international peace and stability.”

The US leader consulted by telephone with South Korean President Geun-Hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following news of the reclusive country’s fifth and most powerful test.

“We agreed to work with the UN Security Council, our other Six-Party partners, and the international community to vigorously implement existing measures imposed in previous resolutions, and to take additional significant steps, including new sanctions,” Obama said in a statement.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, right, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe consulted each other following news of North Korea’s latest nuclear test.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, right, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe consulted each other following news of North Korea’s latest nuclear test.Source:AP

South Korea’s president said the detonation, which Seoul estimated was the North’s biggest-ever in explosive yield, was an act of “fanatic recklessness” and a sign that leader Kim Jong Un “is spiralling out of control.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also condemned the nuclear warhead test as “reckless, provocative and dangerous”.

North Korea’s boast of a technologically game-changing nuclear test defied both tough international sanctions and longstanding diplomatic pressure to curb its nuclear ambitions. It will raise serious worries in many world capitals that North Korea has moved another step closer to its goal of a nuclear-armed missile that could one day strike the U.S. mainland.

Seoul vowed to boost psychological warfare efforts by increasing the number of propaganda loudspeakers along the rivals’ border, the world’s most heavily armed, and the number of hours of anti-North Korean broadcasts.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Picture: AP.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Picture: AP.Source:AP

Hours after South Korea noted unusual seismic activity near North Korea’s northeastern nuclear test site, the North said in its state-run media that a test had “finally examined and confirmed the structure and specific features of movement of (a) nuclear warhead that has been standardised to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets.”

“The standardisation of the nuclear warhead will enable (North Korea) to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power,” North Korea said. “This has definitely put on a higher level (the North’s) technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets.”

North Korea, led by a third-generation dictatorship and wary of outsiders, protects its nuclear program as a closely guarded state secret, and the claims about advancements made in its testing could not be independently verified.