North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon for the third time, in a move that is being met with international condemnation.
The test occurred Tuesday at 02:57 GMT, when seismic activity was detected by monitoring nations. Several hours later, broadcasters on North Korean state-run television confirmed that a nuclear test had, indeed, occurred.
“It was confirmed that the nuclear test, that was carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously, did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment,” said the broadcaster.
The move comes after the country used its state-run television, in January, to warn of coming tests and to say that the United States is an eventual target for long-range missiles.
Nations were quick to speak out against the test.
“The North Korean regime’s reckless disregard for the global will is again on display,” said the press secretary for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. “This apparent test — reportedly North Korea’s third — is provocative and marks a serious, misguided threat to regional peace and security.
“Canada will work with our international partners to pursue all appropriate actions and sanctions against the rogue regime in North Korea.”
Baird is expected to address the test later Tuesday morning.
Neighbouring South Korea said, in a statement, “the nuclear test poses a direct challenge to the whole international community as well as an unacceptable threat to the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.”
Even China, which is seen as a main ally to North Korea, spoke against the test. In a statement, the Chinese government expressed its “firm opposition” to the test, but also urged a measured approach in dealing with the nation.
In a statement, President Barack Obama called the move a “highly provocative act” and said that the United States will take steps to defend itself and its allies.
North Korea last conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. This is the first test under Kim Jong-un since he took over leadership of the country after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011. It is being viewed as a move meant to showcase Kim Jong-un’s power.
The UN Security Council has called an emergency meeting to discuss possible new sanctions against North Korea, reports Reuters.