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KCNA (North Korea), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

North Korea has confirmed it "successfully" conducted a third nuclear test at a northeastern underground test site, in defiance to UN Security Council’s orders to shut down its atomic activity.

"It was confirmed that the nuclear test that was carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment," the state-run Korean Central News agency (KCNA) said.

The country had been threatening to carry out the test for weeks, in response to sanctions imposed after its successful rocket launch in December last year.

The nuclear test, North Korea's first since leader Kim Jong-un came to power in December 2011, is pressing the UN Security Council to hold emergency talks on Wednesday.

REACTIONS

- UN chief Ban Ki-Moon led the global condemnation of the test, with his office saying it was a "clear and grave violation" of Security Council resolutions.

- USA: Reuters has U.S. President Barack Obama’s reaction to North Korea’s threat:

"North Korea announced today that it conducted a third nuclear test. This is a highly provocative act that, following its December 12 ballistic missile launch, undermines regional stability, violates North Korea’s obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, contravenes its commitments under the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and increases the risk of proliferation. North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a threat to U.S. national security and to international peace and security "

Read Obama’s full statement here.

- Australia: Prime Minister Julia Gillard joined the UN chief in his disapproval, saying "The Australian government condemns in the strongest possible terms nuclear testing by North Korea," Australia’s news.com.au reports.

- China: "It is China's firm stance to realize non-nuclearization for the Korean peninsula and prevent nuclear proliferation and maintain peace and stability in north-east Asia," China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

- France: French President François Hollande also firmly condemned the launch, and asked North Korea to "comply immediately to its international duties, " Libération reports.

- Japan: "The test is a grave threat to the safety of our country and a serious challenge against the global framework of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It cannot be tolerated, as it will significantly damage safety and peace in northeast Asia and the international community.

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