U.N. Security Council condemns North Korea nuclear test

UNITED NATIONS Mon May 25, 2009 5:58pm EDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously condemned North Korea's latest nuclear test, saying it was a "clear violation" of a resolution passed in 2006 after Pyongyang's first atomic test.

The nonbinding statement was agreed to after a Security Council meeting that lasted less than an hour.

"The members of the Security Council voiced their strong opposition to and condemnation of the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on 25 May 2009, which constitutes a clear violation of resolution 1718," it said.

It added that council members "have decided to start work immediately on a Security Council resolution on this matter."

The council passed resolution 1718 in October 2006 shortly after Pyongyang detonated its first nuclear device. It banned further nuclear tests and missile launches and imposed limited financial sanctions and an arms and partial trade embargo on North Korea.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was asked by reporters if the council would impose a further round of sanctions on North Korea. She said it would be premature to predict what the 15-nation council would be able to agree to.

"The U.S. thinks that this is a grave violation of international law and a threat to regional and international peace and security," she said. "Therefore, the U.S. will seek a strong resolution with strong measures."

Deputy French Ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix said, "The French national position is that this resolution should include new sanctions in addition to those already adopted by the Security Council."

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters the North Korean nuclear test was "very serious and needs to have a strong response."

Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu said that "there should be a very clear consequence" to the nuclear test.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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