North Korea confirmed early Tuesday that it had successfully conducted its widely anticipated third underground nuclear bomb test, according to The Associated Press. It said it was conducted in a “safe and perfect” manner.Earlier, the U.S. Geological Survey said that it had detected a 4.9-magnitude earthquake in North Korea in an area of previous nuclear tests, which fuelled suspicion throughout the night that North Korea may have conducted the test.
Later, the AP and Reuters both reported that South Korea confirmed North Korea’s nuclear test, which represents an escalation in tension with Asia and the west from young leader Kim Jong Un.
The area of the reported seismic activity had no historical precedence of earthquakes or other natural seismic hazardous activity, according to the USGS.
North Korea has conducted two previous nuclear tests, in October 2006 and May 2009. The 2006 test registered 4.1 magnitude activity, and the 2009 test registered a 4.5. This test is the first under Kim Jong Un.
In January, North Korea threatened to conduct a “higher-level” test to protest tightened sanctions over a “successful” long-range rocket launch in December.
In a statement, The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty organisation said that the new test is “roughly congruent with the 2006 and 2009 DPRK nuclear tests.”
“[T]his act would constitute a clear threat to international peace and security, and challenges efforts made to strengthen global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, in particular by ending nuclear testing,” said Tibor Tóth, the executive secretary of the CTBTO.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the test in a statement.
“It is a clear and grave violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions,” he said.
“It is deplorable that Pyongyang defied the strong and unequivocal call from the international community to refrain from any further provocative measures. … The Secretary-General is gravely concerned about the negative impact of this deeply destabilizing act on regional stability as well as the global efforts for nuclear non-proliferation.”
The nuclear test comes just hours before President Barack Obama is scheduled to give his State of the Union address, a speech that was set to focus mainly on the domestic economy. Obama is also set to call for a world reduction in nuclear arms, according to the New York Times.
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