North Korea conducts second nuclear test (Lead)

May 25th, 2009 - 11:31 am ICT by IANS  

Seoul, May 25 (DPA) North Korea said Monday it “successfully” conducted a nuclear test, following up on earlier threats issued after the UN Security Council criticised a rocket launch by the Stalinist state.
“According to the demand of our scientists and technicians, our republic has successfully conducted another underground nuclear test on May 25… as part of measures to strengthen its nuclear power in self-defence,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

A South Korean official, quoted by the Yonhap news agency, earlier said that South Korea had detected artificial tremors around 0044 GMT, which were an indication of a nuclear test.

“An artificial earthquake was detected at 9.54 a.m. this (Monday) morning near Poongkye-ri in North Hamkyong province,” Lee Dong-kwan, a spokesman for the South Korean government, was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.

The quake’s magnitude was 4.5 on the Richter scale, the defence ministry said. The US Geological Survey also confirmed the quake’s location and approximate magnitude.

The US State Department in Washington said it was looking into the reports of a nuclear test, but could not yet confirm that one had taken place.

Pyongyang conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006, which met with widespread condemnation from the international community.

The Security Council censored North Korea’s April 5 rocket launch, which was widely regarded a cover for a ballistic missile test.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak ordered an emergency meeting of the country’s National Security Council.

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