S. Korean gov’t condemns DPRK nuke test, steps up surveillance

The South Korean government condemned the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Tuesday, calling it a “clear violation” of UN resolutions.

“North Korea (DPRK) will not be able to avoid being held accountable for (the test),” national security adviser Chun Yung-Woo told reporters after an emergency security meeting presided over by President Lee Myung-bak.

“In accordance with our consistent and firm principle that we will not tolerate North Korea’s nuclear tests, the government will seek all measures, including those at the level of UN Security Council, to deter North Korea’s nuclear ambition,” Chun said, calling the test a “threat” to regional stability.

President-elect Park Geun-hye, who replaces Lee later this month, “strongly condemned” the test and vowed to make joint efforts with the international community to denuclearize the DPRK, Park’s spokeswoman Cho Yoon-sun told reporters.

The underground nuclear test, which the DPRK claimed successful, was carried out at 11:57 a.m. local time (0257 GMT) in the DPRK’s Kilju County, North Hamkyung Province.

An artificial earthquake with a magnitude of 4.9 was detected from the town, where the DPRK’s nuclear test facility is located.

South Korea’s military was immediately put on heightened alert to deter potential cross-border provocations, while the South Korean and U.S. forces upgraded their border surveillance level.

The Defense Ministry, which estimated the explosion from the test at 6to 7 kilotons, is keeping an eye on the developments in the DPRK to monitor potential signs of additional nuclear or missile tests.

Pyongyang recently vowed to proceed with missile and nuclear tests targeting the United States, its “sworn enemy,” to protest the UN condemnation over its Dec. 12 rocket launch.

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Pyongyang conducted similar nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

Xinhua

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