North Korea’s nuclear test puts U.S. foreign policy back on the frontline

New concerns emerge on the international political arena as North Korea moves forward with new nuclear test

(Associated Press)

by Artur Tofan

National Editor

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on Monday, February 11, 2013, drawing attention and new concerns from the international community. North Korean official news agency (KCNA) announced that test was conducted underground in the north-eastern part of the country and said that it used a “miniaturized” lighter nuclear device with “a greater explosive force.”

The new test came only 2 months after the successful rocket launch and experts assess that this could mean that North Korea is getting closer to possibly creating a warhead small enough to be mounted on a long-range missile which might be able to reach the Western coast of the United States.

“If the United States continues to come out with hostility and complicates the situation, we will be forced to take stronger, second, and third responses in consecutive steps,” announced KCNA news agency in a statement shortly after the test but failed to specify what those steps would be.

The international community was swift with a response, condemning Pyongyang for conducting the test and threatened new sanctions. United Nation’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also expressed his concerns, saying that the test was a “clear and grave violation of the U.N. resolutions and challenges efforts made to strengthen global nuclear disarmament.”

U.S. administration also condemned North Korea’s actions  and described them as” highly provocative.” President Obama released a statement noting that “the danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community. The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies.”

China, North Korea’s only economic and diplomatic ally in the region, who usually restrains from commenting, characterized Pyongyang’s actions as “hugely insulting”  and conveyed its great dissatisfaction, urging North Korea to “stop any rhetoric or acts that could worsen situations and return to the right course of dialogue and consultation as soon as possible.”

Pyongyang had previously conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 but according to the U.S. Geological Survey this time the seismic magnitude of the event was roughly twice as large, reaching approximately magnitude of 5.1. on the Richter scale.

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