02/12/2013 10:45 AM CST Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Obama Condemns North Korean Nuclear Test
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2013 - President Barack Obama today strongly condemned the latest North Korean nuclear test, saying it undermines regional stability in an important part of the world.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement shortly after midnight EST announcing that a "seismic event" had taken place, and later issued a second statement saying North Korea probably conducted an underground nuclear test near Punggye. The explosion yield was approximately several kilotons and the analysis of the event continues, the second statement said.
This is North Korea's third and largest nuclear test.
"This is a highly provocative act that, following its Dec. 12 ballistic missile launch, undermines regional stability, violates North Korea's obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, contravenes its commitments under the Sept. 19, 2005, Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and increases the risk of proliferation," Obama said in a written statement. The Six-Party Talks include North Korea, South Korea, Russia, China, Japan and the United States.
North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a threat to U.S. national security and to international peace and security, Obama said.
"The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and steadfast in our defense commitments to allies in the region," he added.
North Korean exploded its first nuclear device in October 2006, and conducted its second test in 2009.
"These provocations do not make North Korea more secure," Obama said in his statement. "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."
The U.N. Security Council is conducting an emergency session in New York to consider responses. "We will strengthen close coordination with allies and partners and work with our Six-Party partners, the United Nations Security Council, and other U.N. member states to pursue firm action," Obama said.
On Capitol Hill today, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter expressed the hope that China would join in condemning the test.
"There's nothing more provocative than what the North Koreans did," Carter said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, where he's testifying on the effects of looming defense spending cuts.
"It is very dangerous," he added. "We will take action to condemn and get the rest of the international community to condemn, particularly looking to China to join in that condemnation. They have a pivotal role in influencing the future here. That is an extremely dangerous situation."
Ashton B. Carter