BEIJING, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) — The sudden announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that it successfully carried out its first hydrogen bomb test Wednesday morning jolted the international community, as such a move may dampen the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula and threaten regional stability.
Pyongyang announced the “total success” of the test, which took place at 10:00 a.m. local time (0130 GMT) Wednesday as ordered by DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un, according to a statement released by the state-run KCNA.
The successful H-bomb test means that the DPRK has “proudly joined the advanced ranks of nuclear weapons states possessed of even an H-bomb,” and it “proved the technological specifications of the newly developed H-bomb were accurate and scientifically verified the power of the smaller H-bomb,” said the statement.
The purpose of developing nuclear weapons is aimed against the United States’ hostile policy toward the country, and the DPRK would not resort to nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty was infringed on, the statement said.
The H-bomb test is the fourth nuclear test by the country, which has previously conducted three nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013 respectively.
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY’S RESPONSES
The UN Security Council, which said it would hold an emergency meeting soon after the DPRK’s announcement, has passed three resolutions each time accordingly to voice its strongest condemnation against DPRK authorities and demands the country stop further nuclear weapon-related activities.
The Vienna-based Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) said it detected an unusual seismic event Wednesday close to the 2013 third nuclear test site in the DPRK.
“If confirmed as a nuclear test, this act constitutes a breach of the universally accepted norm against nuclear testing; a norm that has been respected by 183 countries since 1996,” said the organization, which has built many detecting stations worldwide that monitor seismic events caused by a nuclear bomb or earthquake.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also said in a statement that the DPRK’s nuclear test, if confirmed, “is in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and is deeply regrettable.”
“I strongly urge the DPRK to implement fully all relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the IAEA,” IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said, noting that the agency is ready to resume the nuclear verification in the county once a political agreement is reached.
China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a country which enjoys close ties with the DPRK due to geographical location, responded harshly.
China “firmly” opposes the latest nuclear test conducted by the DPRK, according to a statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
“It is China’s steadfast position to realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, prevent nuclear proliferation and maintain the peace and stability of Northeast Asia,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement at a press briefing.
“We strongly urge the DPRK to honor its commitment of denuclearization, stop any action that may deteriorate the situation, and maintain peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia as well as the common interests of parties concerned,” she said.
Highlighting that China is determined to advance the goal of the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization, the spokesperson called for settling the Peninsula’s nuclear issue through the six-party talks, which involve the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia but were stalled in December 2008. The DPRK then quit the talks in April 2009.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government said it could not confirm that the DPRK had conducted a hydrogen bomb test, while vowing to respond appropriately to any “provocations.”
“While we cannot confirm these claims at this time, we condemn any violation of UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments,” White House National Security Council’s spokesman Ned Price said in a statement issued late Tuesday.
In Brussels, the European Union (EU) called on the DPRK to cease its “illegal and dangerous behavior” in the wake of the country’s announcement on the hydrogen bomb test.
The announcement, if confirmed, would represent a grave violation of the DPRK’s international obligations not to produce or test nuclear weapons, as determined by several UN Security Council resolutions, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.
The DPRK’s action would also represent “a threat to the peace and security of the entire North East Asia region,” said the statement.
“I call on the DPRK to re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community, in particular in the framework of the six-party talks,” Mogherini said.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond described the DPRK’s act as “a grave breach of UN Security Council resolutions and a provocation which I condemn without reservation.”
“It underlines the very real threat that North Korea represents to regional and international security,” he said in a statement.
“We will be working with other UN Security Council members to ensure the international community responds urgently and decisively to this latest activity,” he added.
In a statement issue by the Elysee, France urged the DPRK to stop “an unacceptable violation” of UN Security Council resolutions.
France called for “a strong reaction from the international community” if the nuclear test was confirmed, French President Francois Hollande’s office said.
South Korea on Wednesday strongly denounced the DPRK for its fourth nuclear test, warning it would pay a price for its unexpected provocation that threatens world peace.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye convened an emergency security meeting, saying the nuclear test was a threat to the country’s security and a challenge to world peace and stability.
Cho Tae-yong, South Korea’s first deputy chief of the presidential security office, read a statement at the presidential office, saying the country will closely cooperate with its allies and participants of the six-party talks to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula to make the DPRK pay a price for its nuclear test.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday condemned the hydrogen bomb test conducted by the DPRK, saying the test was a “significant threat,” according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.