Pyong Yang (North Korea), May 25 (ANI): The North Korean Government on Monday formally announced that it had conducted a second nuclear test, an event that is likely to invite strong criticism from the international community.
In a statement issued through the official Korean Central News Agency, the North Korean Government said: "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea 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 as requested by its scientists and technicians."
"The current nuclear test was safely conducted on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology of its control and the results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology," the Telegraph further quoted the statement, as saying. "The successful nuclear test is greatly inspiring the army and people of the DPRK all out in the 150-day campaign, intensifying the drive for effecting a new revolutionary surge to open the gate to a thriving nation. The test will contribute to defending the sovereignty of the country and the nation and socialism and ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and the region around it with the might of Songun," the statement concluded.
According to the paper, the nuclear weapons test triggered an artificial earthquake measuring 4.7 on the open-ended Richter Scale.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called an emergency National Security Council meeting to discuss the situation.
"Both South Korea and US intelligence agencies are analysing and closely monitoring the situation," said a spokesman for his office.
He added that the South Korean government had been warned beforehand that a nuclear test was possible.
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said he would set up a task force in response to the test.
The Chinese Foreign ministry said it was investigating the situation and could not comment immediately.
Diplomatic sources said they had been expecting a North Korean nuclear test, and said the rogue state was trying to increase pressure on the United States in a high-stakes negotiation.
North Korea has repeatedly warned in the past month that it intends to restart its nuclear program and build up its arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Reports of the nuclear test hit South Korean financial markets and the main KOSPI share index was down four per cent, while the won dropped more than one per cent against the US dollar. (ANI)