Center for Strategic Communication

By Katharyn Nicolle and Magnus Newth

North Korea’s third nuclear test, conducted yesterday evening, has been met with widespread condemnation from the international community. This test, like the ones in 2006 and in 2009, is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

The monitoring stations of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization detected the seismic activity with great precision. When North Korea announced that the activity was due to a nuclear test, as suspected, CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth said in a statement,

“I am gravely concerned by this action, which deserves universal condemnation… Nuclear testing needs to end once and for all. There is broad support from the international community for the early entry into force of the CTBT, which will establish a legal ban against all kinds of nuclear explosions for all time.”

The White House has also released a statement of condemnation:

 “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, contravenes its commitments under the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and increases the risk of proliferation.

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.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement, “It is deplorable that Pyongyang defied the strong and unequivocal call from the international community to refrain from any further provocative measures.”

Kim Sung-hwan, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea and the current president of the UN Security Council, condemned the test in a statement to the press following an emergency meeting of the UNSC:

“I strongly condemn Pyongyang’s reckless act, which shows outright disregard for the repeated call of the international community to refrain from further provocative measures. The test is a clear and grave violation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”

No UNSC action has been decided as of yet, but Mr. Sung-hwan said that “the members of the Security Council will begin work immediately on appropriate measures in a Security Council resolution.”

President Obama and South Korean president Lee Myung-bak have now discussed the “highly provocative” nuclear test, according to a White House statement: “They agreed to work closely together, including at the United Nations Security Council, to seek a range of measures aimed at impeding North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and reducing the risk of proliferation,”

Additionally, President Obama “unequivocally reaffirmed that the United States remains steadfast in its defense commitments to the Republic of Korea.”

In a press conference one day later, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta added that “the regime’s actions are undermining national security” in the region and “increasing the risk of proliferation and further isolating North Korea from the international community.”