North Korea’s nuclear test triggers outrage

May 25th, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, May 25 (IANS) The underground nuclear test conducted by North Korea Monday received fierce criticism from its neighbours Japan and South Korea, who called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council.
The test was a “serious threat” to peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, the South Korean government said in a statement after an emergency meeting between South Korea’s President Lee Myung Bak and security officials.

The test posed “a serious challenge to the international regime on nuclear non-proliferation”, the statement added.

Seoul said it will work with other participants in international talks concerning an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme - the US, Japan, Russia and China - so that the UN Security Council takes “appropriate steps” against North Korea.

Japan also called for a Security Council emergency meeting.

“Japan would never tolerate North Korea’s nuclear test,” Prime Minister Taro Aso said. “It is a serious challenge to a nuclear non-proliferation regime.”

A coordinated action of the international community was sought in response to Pyongyang’s action, Aso was quoted as saying by Jiji Press.

The Security Council was set to hold an emergency meeting Monday in New York to discuss the test, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s representative to the UN confirmed. Russia holds the rotating Security Council presidency this month.

Japan was considering imposing its own sanctions against Pyongyang, while it began discussing with South Korea and the US drafting and submitting a new UN resolution calling for additional sanctions.

At a meeting of European and Asian foreign ministers in Hanoi, Japan pressed for a separate statement criticising North Korea’s test.

Speaking at the conference, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Kazuo Kodama called the nuclear test “a grave threat to peace and stability”.

“We believe this nuclear test violates existing UN Security Council resolutions,” Kodama said. “We also believe it poses a grave challenge to the (Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) regime.”

India condemned North Korea’s nuclear test as “unfortunate” and said it was a development of serious concern for the world community.

“For the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to conduct such a test in violation of its international commitments is unfortunate,” S.M. Krishna, India’s new foreign minister, told reporters. He was speaking after taking charge of the ministry in New Delhi.

“Like others in the international community we are concerned at the adverse effect on peace and security in that region of such tests,” he said.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand joined in the chorus of condemnation, dubbing the test “another provocative act” that risked destabilising the Korean peninsula.

“It is also a significant step backwards for global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts,” Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.

“New Zealand condemns Pyongyang’s actions. They should be under no illusion as to the gravity with which the international community will view today’s events,” he said.

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