South South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Friday North Korea has conducted a nuclear test in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and in a direct challenge to the international community.
The North’s fifth nuclear test proved the country’s leader Kim Jong Un’s “maniacal recklessness” in completely ignoring the world’s call to abandon his pursuit of nuclear weapons, Park was quoted as saying by her office.
The 5.0 magnitude earthquake Friday is the largest of the four past quakes associated with North Korean nuclear tests, according to South Korea’s weather agency. Artificial seismic waves measuring 3.9 were reported after North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006; 4.8 was reported from its fourth test this January.
North Korea’s nuclear tests are part of a push for a nuclear-armed missile that could one day reach the US mainland. A second nuclear test this year would be a defiant response to Western pressure on Pyongyang to halt its nuclear ambitions. The country has previously conducted tests every three to four years.
The US National Security Council said it was aware of seismic activity in the region of the test site and was “monitoring and continuing to assess the situation in close coordination with our regional partners.”
North Korea has been hit by five sets of United Nations sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006. Since the January test concern has also grown over a series of provocative ballistic missile launches.