Obama slams DPRK nuke test as 'highly provocative'

Updated: 2013-02-13 02:11


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WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama condemned the nuclear test conducted Tuesday by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as "highly provocative," while urging for "further swift and credible action" by the international community.

The test, which the DPRK claimed as successful, was carried out at 11:57 a.m. local time (0237 GMT) in the Kilju County, North Hamkyung Province.

"This is a highly provocative act that, following its December 12 ballistic missile launch, undermines regional stability, violates North Korea's obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

Obama added that the DPRK's latest move contravenes its commitments under the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks on the DPRK's nuclear programs and "increases the risk of proliferation."

Calling the DPRK's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs as a threat to US national security and to international peace and security, Obama said the United States "remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and steadfast in our defense commitments to allies in the region."

The US president urged for "further swift and credible action by the international community" to deal with the danger posed by the DPRK's "threatening activities."

"The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies. We will strengthen close coordination with allies and partners and work with our Six-Party partners, the United Nations Security Council, and other UN member states to pursue firm action," Obama said.

He added that Pyongyang has only "increasingly isolated and impoverished its people through its ill-advised pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery."

Pyongyang conducted the nuclear test after the United States pushed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution in late January to impose new sanctions on the DPRK for its rocket launch last December, which was regarded by Washington and its allies as an attempt to test its ballistic missile technology. Pyongyang has already conducted similar nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

The timing of the DPRK nuclear test was apparently chosen to embarrass Obama, who is to make the State of the Union address late Tuesday to lay out his agenda on domestic and foreign affairs for the second term after winning reelection in last November's presidential election.

Washington has been in close consultations with South Korea and Japan, two major allies in the region, on dealing with the DPRK's nuclear programs. Both South Korea and Japan acted swiftly Tuesday to condemn the DPRK nuclear test as "clear violation" of UN resolutions.

It remains unknown what steps the US and its allies will take to punish the DPRK for conducting the nuclear test, but they are expected to strongly urge the UN Security Council, which is to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday, to condemn the test and impose further sanctions on Pyongyang.