North Korea on Tuesday announced that it has successfully conducted a powerful, underground nuclear test in the northeastern province of Hamkyung. The explosion has caused seismic activity estimated at a magnitude of 5.1, according to the U.S Geological Survey.
Using sophisticated and more advanced technology, the test has already rattled nerves in North East Asia.
Longtime ally China is likely to be unhappy with the latest test. Beijing expressed its unease with Pyongyang in December when it agreed to tighten U.N. sanctions after a rocket launch the same month.
The Chinese foreign minister earlier this month issued a stern public warning to North Korea against the test. The Chinese Communist Party official party newspaper published an unprecedented editorial saying, "If North Korea insists on a third nuclear test despite attempts to dissuade it, it must pay a heavy price."
"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. 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,” US President Barack Obama said.
"These provocations do not make North Korea more secure. Far from achieving its stated goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, North Korea has instead increasingly isolated and impoverished its people through its ill-advised pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery".
North Korea’s latest launch could also be Iran’s green light for nuclear testing. According to a senior German official, North Korea used its nuclear weapons expertise to test a weapon of mass destruction on behalf of Iran in 2012.
"It is deplorable that Pyongyang defied the strong and unequivocal call from the international community to refrain from any further provocative measures," said a UN statement issued by the Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Japan is now considering imposing sanctions following the test. "I have ordered that we consider every possible way to address this issue, including our own sanctions, while cooperating with other countries," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quoted as saying.