Reuters reported that soon after the third nuclear test conducted by the communist government of North Korea on February 12, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the test, saying it was "deplorable" that Pyongyang had defied international appeals to refrain from such provocative acts.
"The Secretary-General condemns the underground nuclear weapon test conducted by (North Korea) today," Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement made on the 12th. "It is a clear and grave violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions."
In an emergency session on February 12, the Security Council unanimously said the nuclear test poses "a clear threat to international peace and security" and pledged further action, reported Fox News. However, China, as a member of the Security Council, holds veto power over the imposition of sanctions on North Korea and it is uncertain as to whether China will use its veto to protect its ally.
In the February 12 nuclear test, North Korea exploded a device reported to be twice as powerful, yet smaller in size, than its last nuclear test on May 25, 2009. Following the 2009 test, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1874, condemning the test and tightening sanctions on the country.
North Korea’s first such test was conducted on October 9, 2006. All three weapons were detonated underground, and theoretically meet the criteria established by the Limited (or Partial) Test Ban Treaty in 1963, which banned all nuclear tests except for those performed underground. (That treaty was initially singed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. North Korea has never acceded to or ratified that treaty, though 126 other states have.)
BBC News reported that the Pyongyang government described the test as a "self-defensive measure" necessitated by the "continued hostility" of the United States, and noted that China, considered to be North Korea’s principle ally, was among the nations that criticized the test.
The BBC report cited the opinion of unnamed analysts who said that the smaller size of this device could bring Pyongyang closer to building a warhead small enough to be carried on a missile.
North Korea’s official KCNA news agency announced the test with the following statement:
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Photo of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: AP Images