North Korea conducts 5th nuclear test, draws criticism
Organization: Department of International Cooperation Publish Date: 2016-09-30 09:15
Source: Taipei Times
North Korea carried out its fifth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 9, 2016, and said it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile, increasing a threat that its rivals and the United Nations have been powerless to contain.
The test, on the 68th founding anniversary of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, was more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to some estimates, and drew condemnation from the United States as well as mainland China, Pyongyang's main ally.
Diplomats stated the U.N. Security Council was to discuss the test at a closed-door meeting later the same day, at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea.
Under autocratic leader Kim Jong-un, North Korea has accelerated the development of its nuclear and missile programs, despite U.N. sanctions that were tightened in March this year and have further isolated the impoverished country.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, in Laos after a summit of Asian leaders, said Kim was showing "maniacal recklessness" in completely ignoring the world's call to abandon the pursuit of nuclear weapons.
U.S. President Barack Obama, aboard Air Force One on his way home from Laos, said the test would be met with "serious consequences," and held talks with Park and with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to the White House.
Mainland China said it was resolutely opposed to the test and urged Pyongyang to stop taking any actions that would worsen the situation. It said it would lodge a protest with the North Korean embassy in Beijing.
There were further robust condemnations from Russia, the European Union, NATO, Germany and Great Britain.
North Korea, which labels Seoul and Washington as its main enemies, said its "scientists and technicians carried out a nuclear explosion test for the judgement of the power of a nuclear warhead," according to its official Korean Central News Agency.
It said the test proved North Korea was capable of mounting a nuclear warhead on a medium-range ballistic missile, which it tested earlier in the week when Obama and other world leaders were gathered in mainland China for a G20 summit.
As sanctions have already been imposed on North Korea across a broad range of areas, the means by which the United States, South Korea and Japan can put pressure on Pyongyang have virtually reached their limits, according to some experts.
Mainland China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated it had no information to provide when asked if it had advance warning of the test and would not be drawn on whether the Mainland would support tougher sanctions against its neighbor.
Although Beijing has criticized North Korea's nuclear and missile tests, it has repeatedly expressed anger since Washington and Seoul decided in July this year to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in South Korea.