International community condemns nuclear test in North Korea

The North Korean regime has followed up on its threats and carried out an underground nuclear test on 12 February 2013, the third one after tests in 2006 and 2009. Pyongyang has thus exacerbated regional tensions again after launching a long range missile on 12 December 2012. The test has drawn strong international criticism.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon, for example, talked about a “deeply destabilizing act” which clearly violated relevant UN Security Council resolutions. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle spoke in the same vein, condemning the nuclear test in the strongest of terms: “The international community must adopt a clear stand in response to this renewed provocation. Further sanctions against the regime in Pyongyang must now be considered.” The Minister said that this should also be discussed at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on 18 February.

Critical reactions to this renewed provocation by North Korea came from, among others, the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, China, Russia, South Korea, Japan and several European states.

Security Council convenes for emergency session

UN Security Council during its session on 22 January 2013

UN Security Council during its session on 22 January 2013
© UN Photo

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UN Security Council during its session on 22 January 2013

UN Security Council during its session on 22 January 2013

UN Security Council during its session on 22 January 2013

North Korean state media have confirmed that the nuclear test was carried out. The seismic activity measured suggests that a strong charge was detonated. The Security Council met for an emergency session in New York on 12 February. The Council members condemned the test, calling it a grave violation of the Council’s relevant resolutions. They also stated that there continued to be a clear threat to international peace and security. The Council would begin work immediately on “appropriate measures” in another Security Council resolution.

As recently as 22 January, the Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea’s missile launch of 12 December 2012 in Resolution 2087 (2013) and further tightened its targeted sanctions against that country. It called for an end to all of Pyongyang’s ballistic tests and nuclear programmes.
It added further individuals associated with the missile programme to its existing list of those who are subject to travel bans and asset freezes. Banks and other institutions were also included in the lists. Moreover, the Council announced significant action in the event of a further launch or nuclear test by North Korea.

International concern about nuclear and missile programme

Over the years, North Korea has undertaken several missile launches and nuclear tests. After the start of an Unha 3 long range missile last December, the regime claimed it had sent a weather satellite into space. However, the international community suspects that an intercontinental missile was tested. UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 from 2006 and 2009 as well as Resolution 2087 (2013), which was adopted recently, prohibit such ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests by North Korea.

North Korea is isolated internationally and one of the most closed off countries in the world. The population is suffering due to the poor economic situation and the lack of basic necessities as well as political repression. The international community is making every effort to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme. The most important forum for these efforts were the six party talks started in 2003 between the two Koreas as well as the US, China, Russia and Japan. However, they broke down back in 2009.

Last updated 13.02.2013