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Just hours after reports suggested that North Korea had abandoned its plan to detonate a nuclear device, the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 4.9-magnitude earthquake north of the 38th parallel on Tuesday. The Korean peninsula, by the way, is not prone to earthquakes. Not natural ones, anyways. The United Nations called it an "unusual seismic event" — at first. Within minutes, a United Nations Security Council diplomat said that there had been a nuclear test in North Korea. And within an hour of that, the AP reported that South Korea "suspects" a nuclear test as well, while Reuters reported that South Korea was "on alert" for additional tests or missile launches. (Analysts focusing on Northeast Asia and North Korea watchers on social media immediately began suspecting a second underground tunnel could mean that a follow-up test might be forthcoming.) South Korea called an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council for 9 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday morning, an hour ahead of a scheduled meeting. U.S. officials told CNN they were working to confirm the reports. Japan's Kyodo news service said the Japanese defense ministry was scrambling aircraft to look at radiation effects, though a spokesperson for the government said they were unlikely to spread, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe threatened new sanctions. Not that sanctions have stopped the acceleration of the reclusive but provocative state's nuclear and missile programs.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea said it successfully detonated a miniaturized nuclear device at a northeastern test site Tuesday, defying U.N. Security Council orders to shut down atomic activity or face more sanctions and international isolation. The underground explosion could take North Korea a big step closer to its goal of building a nuclear warhead small enough to be mounted on a long-range missile that could threaten the United States. It will also be seen as a direct message from young leader Kim Jong Un to the United States, Pyongyang's former wartime enemy. North Korea's official state media said the test was conducted in a safe manner and is aimed at coping with "outrageous" U.S. hostility that "violently" undermines the North's peaceful, sovereign right to launch satellites. North Korea faced sanctions after a December launch of a rocket that the U.N. and Washington called a cover for a banned missile test. Pyongyang said it was a peaceful satellite launch.
(CNN) -- Amid talk of a possible nuclear bomb test, North Korea vowed Tuesday to carry out a "high-intensity, all-out action." The promise emerged from a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party and was reported by the state-run news agency KCNA. "It emphasized the necessity to continue on with launching artificial satellites ... and long-range rockets," the agency reported. It also said that the party leadership promised to "stage a high-intensity, all-out action, and maximize its preparation ... so that just after an order is issued, we can destroy and sweep America and the South Korean puppet army, and achieve the historic achievement of reunified Korea."
Reports from inside the secretive famine-hit pariah state, North Korea, claim a man has been executed after murdering his two children for food. The grim suggestion that North Koreans are turning to cannibalism were reported by the Asia Press, and published in the Sunday Times. They claim a 'hidden famine' in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae has killed 10,000 people, and there are fears that cannibalism is spreading throughout the country.
Pyongyang’s family-run government is already cut off economically from almost every country but China. United Nations sanctions have made it more difficult for the North to launder its illicit money, import its luxury goods and acquire some weapons materials. But U.N. sanctions and bans have not stifled North Korean missile launches, nuclear tests or weapons trades. Instead, the North does as it pleases, relying on domestic and illegally imported technology, in part because it has little fear about further international condemnation, some security analysts said. North Korea says its satellite-launching program is about space research, not weapons technology, and is permissible under an international space treaty.
Security experts cautioned that North Korea must still overcome several hurdles before it can directly threaten the United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile. It must miniaturize a nuclear weapon so it is small enough to mount on the rocket and hone technology that will allow the device to reenter the atmosphere from space.
(Reuters) - North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on Tuesday in defiance of existing U.N. resolutions, drawing condemnation from around the world, including from its only major ally, China, which summoned the North Korean ambassador to protest.
(Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday "strongly condemned" North Korea's third nuclear test and vowed to take action against Pyongyang, the president of the Security Council said. "The members of the Security Council strongly condemned this test, which is a grave violation of Security Council resolutions," South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, whose country is president of the council this month, told reporters. He said the council would now consider "appropriate measures." U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that Washington and its allies intended to "augment the sanctions regime" already in place due to Pyongyang's 2006 and 2009 atomic tests.
(Reuters) - Israel said on Tuesday that the international community must make clear to North Korea after its latest nuclear test that such activities cannot be tolerated. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the test, North Korea's third in defiance of U.N. resolutions, and a ballistic missile launch in December raised "grave concerns" about proliferation of nuclear and ballistic technologies. Israel, which is generally believed to possess the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal but refuses to confirm or deny the fact, says a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten its existence, and has hinted strongly that it will take military action if international efforts fail to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
(Reuters) - North Korea told the U.N. disarmament forum on Tuesday that it would never bow to resolutions on its nuclear program and that prospects for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula were "gloomy" because of a hostile U.S. policy. "The U.S. and their followers are sadly mistaken if they miscalculate the DPRK would respect the entirely unreasonable resolutions against it. The DPRK will never bow to any resolutions," Jon Yong Ryong, first secretary of North Korea's mission in Geneva, told the Conference on Disarmament, referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).