The United Nations today strongly condemned the reported nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), calling it “a grave challenge” that violates international norms, aggravates regional tensions and creates serious security issues for the world community.
The Security Council held consultations on the issue this morning, after which the
President of the 15-member body for October, Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, told reporters that members strongly condemned the reported test and urged the DPRK to refrain from further testing and return to the so-called Six-Party Talks that have been seeking to resolve the issue of its nuclear programme.
Mr. Oshima said an expert-level meeting was scheduled later today to discuss a draft resolution. On Friday the Council warned the DPRK of unspecified action if it went ahead with the test, which it said would represent a clear threat to international peace and security.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was “deeply concerned” and also called for urgent resumption of the Talks between China, DPRK, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States that have been going on sporadically in Beijing for several years.
“This action violates international norms of disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the current international moratorium on nuclear testing,” the statement said. “It aggravates regional tensions in and around the Korean Peninsula, and jeopardizes security both in the region and beyond.”
Mr. Annan calls on all parties “to respond to this grave challenge in a constructive manner,” it added. “The Secretary-General views this test as yet another reason for the international community to renew its collective effort to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force and to make progress towards multilateral nuclear disarmament.”
The head of the UN atomic watchdog agency also voiced serious concern. “The breaking of a de facto global moratorium on nuclear explosive testing that has been in place for nearly a decade and the addition of a new State with nuclear weapon capacity is a clear setback to international commitments to move towards nuclear disarmament,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said.
“This reported nuclear test threatens the nuclear non-proliferation regime and creates serious security challenges not only for the East Asian region but also for the international community,” he added.
Dr. ElBaradei reiterated the urgent need, “more than any time before,” for establishing a legally binding universal ban on nuclear testing through the early entry into force of the CTBT. A resumption of dialogue between all concerned parties is “indispensable and urgent,” he said.