26 May 2009

N Korea nuke 'comparable to Hiroshima'

(News.com) -WASHINGTON is seeking "a strong resolution with strong measures" by the United Nations against North Korea for the nuclear test it conducted yesterday, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said.

The hardline communist state, which stunned the world with its first atomic bomb test in October 2006, made good on its threat to stage another test after the Security Council censured it for an April rocket launch.

The North "successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defence in every way,'' the official Korean Central News Agency said.

"The current nuclear test was safely conducted on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology.''

Meeting in emergency session, the UN Security Council unanimously condemned the test, while council president Vitaly Churkin of Russia said members would immediately begin working on a resolution to address Pyongyang's latest move.

"The US thinks this is a grave violation of international law, and a threat to regional and international peace and security,'' Ms Rice said about the test.

"And therefore, the United States will seek a strong resolution with strong measures.''

The force of yesterday's blast was between 10 and 20 kilotons, according to Russia's defence ministry, vastly more than the estimated one-kiloton blast three years ago.

Japan's Meteorological Agency said that based on recorded seismic activity, the energy level of the test was four times bigger than the last one.

Baek Seung-Joo of the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses told AFP that if rough estimates by some private analysts were right, "the power of the second blast is comparable to the bombs which hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki".