The EU has strongly condemned the “grave violation” of UN resolutions by North Korea, after the secretive dictatorship claimed to have carried out a nuclear test.
Ahead of an urgent session of the UN Security Council later Wednesday (6 January) to address the issue, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini slammed the test as “illegal and dangerous behaviour”.
North Korea said earlier it had carried out a successful miniaturised hydrogen bomb test which put it in “the rank of advanced nuclear states”. Pyongyang has carried out three previous nuclear tests, in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
Mogherini added that “this action would represent a grave violation of the DPRK’s international obligations not to produce or test nuclear weapons, as determined by several United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and a threat to the peace and security of the entire North East Asia region”.
Mogherini is due later to speak with the foreign ministers of both Japan and South Korea to discuss the situation.
Mogherini also urged North Korea to return to what are known as the Six Party talks — grouping North and South Korea, China, Russia, the United States and Japan — on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme and the future of the divided Korean peninsula.
The EU established diplomatic relations with Pyongyang in 2001, but ties remain minimal. Following the earlier tests, the 28-nation bloc imposed a series of trade bans and asset freezes against some 60 North Korean individuals and entities.
The UN Security Council emergency meeting comes at the request of the US and Japan, and will take place at 11AM New York time.
“The United States and Japan have requested emergency Security Council consultations for tomorrow morning regarding North Korea’s alleged nuclear test,” Hagar Chemali, spokeswoman for the U.S. mission, said in a statement.
“While we cannot confirm at this time that a test was carried out, we condemn any violation of UNSC (UN Security Council) Resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments,” she added.
North Korea said it had successfully conducted a test of a miniaturized hydrogen nuclear device on Wednesday morning, marking a significant advance in the isolated state’s strike capabilities, raising alarm bells in Japan and South Korea.
Pyongyang has been under UN Security Council sanctions due to its nuclear weapons program since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
The EU condemnations were mirrored across various member state capitals, with French President Francois Hollande calling it an “an unacceptable violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” which demanded a “strong reaction from the international community”.
The British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, speaking on a visit to China, said “If a nuclear device has been detonated by North Korea, this is a grave breach of UN Security Council resolutions and a provocation which I condemn without reservation.
“It underlines the very real threat that North Korea represents to regional and international security.”
Britain and France are the EU’s only permanent members of the UN Security Council.
According to Reuters, South Korea’s KOSPI and the won both fell, and Japan’s Nikkei extended losses to close down 1 percent on the news of the detonation.