Condemnation, doubt greet North Korea's H-bomb announcement
Seoul/Washington: North Korea's declaration that it had tested a hydrogen bomb for the first time was greeted with widespread condemnation but also skepticism as world powers vowed to punish the impoverished and defiant nation with new international sanctions.
The international community said that North Korea's fourth nuclear test since 2006 was a 'reckless challenge to international norms of behavior and the authority of the UN Security Council'.
The members of the security council yesterday recalled that they have previously expressed their determination to take further significant measures in the event of another North Korean nuclear test, according to a press statement read by this month's Security Council President Elbio Rosselli, permanent representative of Uruguay.
The statement said in line with this commitment and the gravity of this violation, the members of the Security Council will begin to work immediately on such measures in a new Security Council resolution.
The surprise announcement by North Korea that it successfully carried out its first hydrogen bomb test on Wednesday jolted the international community, as such a move may dampen the denuclearisation process on the Korean Peninsula and threaten regional stability.
The H-bomb test is the fourth nuclear test by the country, which has previously conducted three nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
US doubts North Korea's claims
The US casted doubts over North Korea's claims of successfully testing a hydrogen bomb, noting that initial analysis is not consistent with the claims of Pyongyang.
"Initial analysis is not consistent with N Korean claims of a hydrogen bomb explosion," White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters at his daily news conference.
Calling North Korea's action "provocative", the White House official reiterated America's "rock-solid commitment to safety and security of South Korea and Japan."
He asked North Korea to end its provocative actions.
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice had a White House meeting with China's Ambassador to the US on the situation.
"There is no denying the role that China would play in this," Earnest said, adding that the Obama Administration would be talking to China on North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
"We are conducting additional collection and analysis of data. The initial analysis that's been conducted of the events that were reported overnight is not consistent with
North Korean claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test," Earnest said in response to a question.
"There's nothing that's occurred in the last 24 hours that has caused the United States government to change our assessment of North Korea's technical and military capabilities," Earnest said.
"We are continuing the work necessary to learn more about the nuclear test that North Korea conducted last night," he said.
"So we're obviously going to continue to look at this by monitoring the situation, assessing the available data and evidence, but the initial analysis is not consistent with the claims that the regime has made of a successful hydrogen bomb test," Earnest said.
"What is true is that North Korea continues to be one of the most isolated nations in the world and their isolation has only deepened as they have sought to engage in increasingly provocative acts. These include not just nuclear tests, but some of the ballistic missile tests that have attracted some attention over the years as well," he said.
Responding to a question, he reiterated the rock-solid commitment on the part of the United States to the safety and security of our allies in South Korea.
"That commitment also extends to the safety and security of our allies in Japan," he said, adding that the US has demonstrated this commitment.
With Agency Inputs