World News

U.S. "gravely concerned" by North Korea test claim

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is gravely concerned by North Korea’s statement to have conducted a nuclear test, is still analyzing the data and is consulting members of the U.N. Security Council on “next steps,” a U.S. State Department official said on Monday.

“We are gravely concerned by North Korea’s claims. We are analyzing the data. The (U.S.) Geological Survey confirmed that a seismic event took place consistent with a test,” said a U.S. State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We are consulting with our six-party and U.N. Security Council partners on next steps,” the official added. Under the so-called “six-party” talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, North Korea committed in 2005 to abandon all its nuclear programs.

North Korea said it successfully conducted a nuclear test on Monday, a move certain to further isolate the prickly state, which argues it has no choice but to build an atomic arsenal to protect itself in a hostile world.

The test, the North’s second, follows years of on-off negotiations with regional powers, which have been pressing the impoverished state to give up its nuclear ambitions in return for massive aid and an end to the country’s pariah status.

Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Eric Walsh