World Leaders React to North Korea Nuclear Test

| Tue Feb. 12, 2013 3:06 PM EST

North Korea conducted a third nuclear test on Tuesday, the first since the country's leader Kim Jong-un took power in December 2011. Though it is still unclear whether the test was successful, experts say it could bring the country closer to its goal of building nuclear-tipped missiles designed to strike the US. Official state media characterized the test as a response to US hostility, and warned of "second and third measures of greater intensity" in the future if Washington doesn't back down. (The UN imposed sanctions on the country after a December 2012 rocket launch that the UN and Washington said was a cover for a banned missile test.)

The United Nations Security Council called the test, which is in defiance of existing UN resolutions, "a clear threat to international peace and security," and said it would "begin work immediately" on further punitive measures against Pyongyang.

The test also prompted an outcry from leaders around the world: Here are some of them, via CNN:

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President Barack Obama: "This is a highly provocative act that...undermines regional stability, [and] violates North Korea's obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions... The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community."

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Chinese government said in a statement that it "resolutely opposes" North Korea's nuclear test. "Holding up peace and stability in Northeast Asia is China's resolute position. We strongly urge [North Korea] to abide by [its] promise to denuclearize and take no further action that will worsen the situation."

South Korean president-elect Park Geun-hye: "We strongly condemn [the test]. The North Korean nuclear test…has hampered the credibility between the South and North."

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Russia called for North Korea to abandon its a nuclear missile program, stick to UN Security Council regulations, and return to negotiations. The ministry added that Russia "has a long history of good neighborliness," with the country, and said the test should not be an excuse for "increase[d] military activities around the Korean Peninsula" by adversaries like the US.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe: "North Korea's nuclear testing is a grave threat to the safety of Japan and a serious challenge against [the] international disarmament framework based on the non-nuclear proliferation treaty. We can never tolerate it."

British foreign secretary William Hague: "I strongly condemn this development…[North Korea's] repeated provocations only serve to increase regional tension."

French president Francois Hollande: "France again urges North Korea to immediately comply with its international obligations and to carry out complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear and missile programs."

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle: The German foreign office tweeted that Westerwelle "strongly condemns" North Korea's nuclear test, and that the "international community should consider further sanctions against the regime."

Here is a map showing the test site and the country's main nuclear reactor, courtesy of USA Today.

 
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