North Korea says sanctions push after nuclear test ‘laughable’

People watch a television news report showing file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a railway station in Seoul

The United States said it would work with partners to impose new sanctions, and called on China to use its influence – as North Korea’s main ally – to pressure Pyongyang to end its nuclear programme.

North Korea marked the 68th anniversary of its founding with its most powerful nuclear test to date, triggering a magnitude 5.3 natural disaster and reactions from worldwide leaders in the process.

Moon and the UN Security council condemned North Korea’s fifth and largest nuclear test, prompting a defiant response from the country.

North Korea’s nuclear test is a unsafe affront to the worldwide community and a serious threat to regional security, says New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

The world must now “cautiously accept the reality” that the North could launch a nuclear attack by missile, said analyst Jeung Young-Tae of the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), although the range of such a nuclear-tipped missile remained unclear.

“Gone are the days never to return when the U.S. could make a unilateral nuclear blackmail against the DPRK”, said the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun, using the country’s official name. “Maybe we shouldn’t be so honest when it comes to military strategy”, he said.

The spokesman defended the test as a necessary response to what he described as “augmented threats of nuclear war from the United States”.

“It is believed that the North’s nuclear capability is becoming more advanced to a considerable level, and at a faster pace”, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se told senior ministry officials, calling for “more and stronger sanctions”.

Yonhap news agency quoted an unidentified presidential official as saying Mr Park would seek cooperation from both her conservative ruling party and liberal opposition parties for her handling of the nuclear threat.

The world’s leaders expressed outrage and alarm Friday over North Korea’s latest nuclear test, as Pyongyang’s accelerating nuclear program is emerging as a major national security threat that a new USA president will confront. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a statement that a suspected nuclear test by North Korea “could not be tolerated”, according to Reuters.

Within hours of the test, North Korea’s neighbors were scrambling to respond.

State-run media in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang said the test moved the country closer to developing a “standardized” nuclear warhead capable of easy delivery on ballistic rockets.

In a press statement issued late yesterday evening, after the Council held urgent consultations on the situation, the 15-member body underlined that the test is a clear violation and “in flagrant disregard” of Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) and 2270 (2016), as well as of the non-proliferation regime.

But she also said she would support the kind of negotiations that a group of countries engaged in with Iran over its nuclear program, because sanctions “aren’t enough”.

In mid-August, Seoul announced its intention to significantly boost its arsenal of missiles to counter the growing military threat from North Korea.

Pyongyang claims it has mastered the technique of mounting a warhead on a ballistic missile.

“It is too early to bury the six-party talks”.

News of the test came after South Korean monitors recorded artificial seismic activity near a known nuclear test site, registering a magnitude 5. Not only has the range of the weapons jumped significantly, but the country is working to flawless new platforms for launching them – submarines and mobile launchers – giving the North greater ability to threaten the tens of thousands of US troops stationed throughout Asia.