(Reuters) - Following is reaction from the international community and political analysts on North Korea’s nuclear test.
President Barack Obama said North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests were a “matter of grave concern to all nations” and warranted action by the international community.
“North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community. North Korea’s behavior increases tensions and undermines stability in Northeast Asia,” Obama said in a statement.
The U.N. Security Council will meet on Monday to discuss the nuclear test, Russia’s U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency.
The test was unacceptable and a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, Japan’s top government spokesman said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said Japan would seek a new resolution by the council. Kyodo news agency said Japan was also considering tightening its own sanctions on the communist state.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called an emergency meeting of cabinet ministers. South Korea’s top financial regulator said it would soon hold an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in financial markets.
While China has not commented publicly, the test will anger Beijing, the North’s neighbor and long-time benefactor. But China is unlikely to back strong sanctions as part of any new U.N. Security Council resolution, Chinese analysts said. China’s leaders will probably be more careful to balance their anger against worries Pyongyang could make six-party nuclear disarmament talks unsalvageable, one Chinese expert said.
Russia’s military said North Korea’s nuclear test had a force of about 20 kilotonnes, Itar-Tass quoted a source in Russia’s defense ministry as saying. A kilotonne is equivalent to 1,000 tonnes of TNT. An unidentified source in Russia’s foreign ministry called for calm and warned against hysteria after the blast.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the test was provocative. “On the basis that North Korea has conducted a nuclear underground explosion, they deserve and get nothing other than our absolute condemnation, and that condemnation should be echoed around our region and the globe,” Smith told parliament.
“The surprise is the timing, that it happened more quickly, much sooner than people expected.
“People reading about this today are going to be worried that there is going to be a war, that this could lead to a military conflict. The answer to that is no. The primary consequences are going to be political and inside North Korea and in the region.
“One has to wonder if this is part of the internal political transition that may be occurring inside North Korea.”
XU GUANGYU, RESEARCHER, CHINA ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT
“This came unexpectedly quickly. But North Korea has been seeking ways to pressure the United States and South Korea to open up dialogue with them.”
“North Korea’s strategic objective hasn’t changed. That objective is to win the attention of the Obama administration, to push the North Korea issue up the agenda.”
KOH YU-HWAN, PROFESSOR OF NORTH KOREA STUDIES, DONGKUK
“North Korea had been expecting the new U.S. administration to mark a shift from the previous administration’s stance, but is realizing that there are no changes. It may have decided that a second test was necessary.”
DONG YONG-SUENG, SENIOR FELLOW, SAMSUNG ECONOMIC RESEARCH
“North Korea had already hinted at the possibility of a nuclear test and this test underscored its strong will to hold a nuclear deterrent.”
MOON HONG-SIK, PROFESSOR, CHUNG-ANG UNIVERSITY
“It reflects North Korea’s discontent with the United Nations and the United States, and its firm determination to take up another ‘battle’ with them.”
KIM SUNG-HAN, KOREA UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR
“The reported test appears to be aimed at securing ultimate endorsement of its nuclear power status from the United States and bringing Washington to the negotiation table.”
Editing by Dean Yates