North Korea confirms third nuclear test, sparks protests
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DAVID E SANGER & CHOE SANG-HUN
North Korea on Tuesday confirmed it had conducted its third, long-threatened nuclear test, according to the official KCNA news service, posing a new challenge for the Obama administration in its effort to keep the country from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.
The KCNA said it used a "miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously" and that the test "did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment." It said a "miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously" was used and that the test "did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment."
The test drew a crescendo of international condemnation Tuesday, with President Obama calling it a "highly provocative act" that demands "swift and credible action by the international community" against North Korea. Russia, Britain, South Korea and the United Nations similarly quickly condemned the blast.
The UN Security Council "strongly condemned" the nuclear test and vowed to take "appropriate measures" in response to Pyongyang's action. The powerful UN body held urgent consultations here to discuss the "serious" situation. In a statement, the council said its members will "begin work immediately on appropriate measures in a resolution" in line with the "gravity of this violation", Press Trust of India reported.
Preliminary estimates by South Korea suggested the test was much more powerful than the previous two conducted by the North.
Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for South Korea's Defence Ministry, said Tuesday's blast generated an explosive yield of between six and seven kilotons, far greater than the yield of less than one kiloton detected in the North's 2006 test and an estimated yield of two to six kilotons in its 2009 test. But it appeared less powerful than the first bomb the United States dropped on Japan, in Hiroshima in 1945, which had an explosive yield of 15 kilotons.
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