North Korea conducted third long-threatened nuclear test
By Sayed Jawad - Tue Feb 12 2013, 1:03 pm
North Korea confirmed on Tuesday that it had conducted its third, long-threatened nuclear test posing a new challenge for the Obama administration in its effort to keep the country from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.
The North said the test had “greater explosive force” than the 2006 and 2009 tests that were widely seen as small-scale.
According to KCNA news agency said it had used a “miniaturized” and lighter nuclear device, indicating that it had again used plutonium which is more suitable for use as a missile warhead.
The source further added that the test was conducted in a safe manner and is aimed at coping with “outrageous” U.S. hostility that “violently” undermines the North’s peaceful, sovereign right to launch satellites. North Korea faced sanctions after a December launch of a rocket that the U.N. and Washington called a cover for a banned missile test. Pyongyang said it was a peaceful satellite launch.
The test came hours before President Barack Obama was scheduled to give his State of the Union speech, a major, nationally televised address. It’s also only days before the Saturday birthday of Kim Jong Un’s father, late leader Kim Jong Il, whose memory North Korean propaganda has repeatedly linked to the country’s nuclear ambitions.
This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.
Preliminary estimates suggested a test far larger than the previous two conducted by the North, though probably less powerful than the first bomb the United States dropped on Japan, in Hiroshima, in 1945. The Russian defense ministry was quoted as saying the blast surpassed 7 kilotons; the Hiroshima bomb had an explosive yield of 15 kilotons.
The U.S. Geological Survey said that a seismic event measuring 5.1 magnitude had occurred on Tuesday, with North Korea later confirming the nuclear test.
The test prompted the U.N. Security Council to call for an emergency meeting later on Tuesday. It likely to be a major embarrassment for Beijing, the North’s sole major economic and diplomatic ally.
UN chief Ban Ki-Moon led the global condemnation of the test, with his office saying it is a “clear and grave violation” of Security Council resolutions.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard joined the UN chief in his disapproval, saying Australia would work for the strongest possible response to North Korea’s continuing defiance of the will of the international community.