‘H-bomb of justice’ raises UN’s ire
The UN Security Council pledged Wednesday to swiftly pursue new sanctions against North Korea, strongly condemning its latest nuclear test as a “clear violation” of previous UN resolutions.
North Korea trumpeted its first hydrogen bomb test — a self-proclaimed “H-bomb of justice” that would mark a major and unanticipated advance for its still-limited nuclear arsenal.
The announcement Wednesday was met with widespread skepticism, as well as a strong condemnation of the defiant, impoverished country.
North Korea’s fourth nuclear test likely pushed its scientists and engineers closer to their goal of building a warhead small enough to place on a missile that can reach the U.S. mainland. But South Korea’s spy agency thought the estimated explosive yield from the blast was much smaller than what even a failed hydrogen bomb detonation would produce.
There was a burst of jubilation and pride in Pyongyang. A North Korean TV anchor said the test of a “miniaturized” hydrogen bomb had been a “perfect success” that elevated the country’s “nuclear might to the next level.”
The UN sanctions would be the fifth round imposed on North Korea since the country’s first nuclear test in 2006.
The sanctions are aimed at reining in the North’s nuclear and missile development, but Pyongyang has ignored them and moved ahead with programs to modernize its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
The Security Council held an emergency meeting after North Korea announced its first hydrogen bomb test, which would mark a major advance for its still-limited nuclear arsenal.
The announcement was met with skepticism, however, with South Korea’s spy agency saying the estimated explosive yield from the explosion was much smaller than what even a failed H-bomb detonation would produce.
The Security Council said North Korea’s actions were a “clear violation” of the four previous sanctions resolutions “and therefore a clear threat to international peace and security continues to exist.”
The UN’s most powerful body said it had pledged to take “further significant measures” — UN code for sanctions — in the event of another test and would begin work immediately on a new sanctions resolution in light of “the gravity of this violation.”
British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the test is another example of Pyongyang’s “reckless challenge to international norms of behaviour and the authority of the UN Security Council.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, a former South Korean foreign minister, called North Korea’s announcement “profoundly destabilizing for regional security.” Ban demanded that Pyongyang cease any further nuclear activities.
North Koreans react as they watch a news broadcast on a video screen outside Pyongyang Railway Station in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday.