North Korea conducts test of nuclear weapon

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Monday, May 25, 2009

North Korea's official news agency is reporting that the country's government has carried out a "successful" test of a nuclear weapon. Yonhap News Agency in South Korea also reports the possible test.

Location of the test
Image: USGS.

"According to the demand of our scientists and technicians, our republic has successfully conducted another underground nuclear test on May 25 ... as part of measures to strengthen its nuclear power in self-defense," said the Korean Central News Agency as quoted by Yonhap. North Korea claimed the test was 'part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defence'.

Yonhap says an "artificial earthquake" was detected that suggested a test had been conducted, but that the government was working to confirm the report. "The [South Korean] government is still trying to verify whether it in fact was a nuclear test, but it believes there is a possibility," said presidential office spokesperson Lee Dong-kwan.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that at approximately 00:54:44 UTC, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake was detected 70 kilometers (45 miles) North, Northwest of Kimchaek, North Korea. South Korea reports the magnitude at a 4.5. North Korea previously conducted a nuclear test in 2006. That blast was measured at a magnitude 3.6.

South Korean officials have called an emergency meeting to discuss the event. South Korea has also banned its citizens from entering North Korea, except the Kaesong Joint Complex, from Tuesday. Russia is convening an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Monday. Japan's government has set up a special task force at the crisis management center in the prime minister's official residence.

South Korea, Japan, The People's Republic of China, the United States, Russia, and the European Union have all condemned the test. Russia, the US and the EU claimed the tests are a breach of United Nations' Security Council Resolutions. Iran has refused to condemn it, stating it was an "internal affair".


Sources

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