With the UN planning an emergency meeting to discuss North Korea's nuclear test, some countries are calling for tougher sanctions.
International condemnation of nuclear tests
The International community has reacted strongly to North Korea over its latest nuclear test with the UN planning an emergency meeting later today. The French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, on a visit to Abu Dhabi, said today that Paris "strongly condemns" the nuclear test by North Korea. "France is concerned and condemns this test in the strongest terms. It is without a doubt a violation of international law and engagements made by North Korea to the international community," government spokesman Luc Chatel said. "Therefore France asks for the strongest sanctions," he told Europe 1 radio, following previous condemnations from the United States and European Union. Japan vowed "stern action" against communist North Korea over its latest nuclear test and pushed for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that was set to be held later today. "It is absolutely unacceptable," said top government spokesman Takeo Kawamura, as the prime minister Taro Aso set up a special crisis task force. "Japan will take stern action against North Korea." "It is an act that we can never tolerate," the foreign minister Hirofumi Nakasone said in Hanoi after meeting South Korean counterpart Yu Myung-Hwan. "As it is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, (Japan) condemns and protests it strongly. It is a challenge to the whole of the international community and increases tensions. "We, as the only atomic-bombed nation, need to take stern action." In Brussels, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, denounced the test as a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions. "These irresponsible acts by North Korea warrant a firm response by the international community," Mr Solana said in a statement. "The European Union will be in contact with its partners to discuss appropriate measures." The UN Security Council will meet this afternoon to discuss North Korea's nuclear test, Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency. Russia's Defense Ministry said it confirmed the test and estimated its yield at 10 to 20 kilotons - a size comparable to the bombs that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The defence ministry spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky, speaking on state-run Rossiya television, said the test was conducted about 50 miles (80 kilometres) north-west of the city of Kilchu. Russia is "concerned" at North Korea's nuclear test, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said ahead of the UN Security Council meeting. But a Russian foreign ministry source said the international community should avoid "hysteria" and should not repeat "mistakes" that followed last month's North Korean rocket launch, the Interfax news agency reported. "We are of course concerned by reports that North Korea carried out an explosion of a nuclear device," Lavrov was quoted by the RIA-Novosti and Interfax agencies as saying during a visit to Beirut. "We naturally consider it necessary to double check these reports, including with the help of national seismic services. "After that we will draw conclusions," he said. Moscow currently holds the rotating monthly presidency of the Security Council. "Japan made a request to the president of the Security Council that they hold a Security Council meeting on North Korea," said a diplomatic source, asking not to be identified. The British prime minister Gordon Brown said that he condemned "in the strongest terms" nuclear and missile tests conducted by North Korea. "This act will undermine prospects for peace on the Korean peninsula and will do nothing for North Korea's security. The international community will treat North Korea as a partner if it behaves responsibly. If it does not then it can expect only renewed isolation," Mr Brown said in a statement. He described the decision to carry out the tests as "erroneous, misguided and a danger to the world". Asian nuclear power India said it was "unfortunate" that North Korea had conducted a nuclear test "in violation of its international commitments". "Like others in the international community we are concerned at the adverse effect on peace and stability in that region of such tests," an Indian foreign ministry statement said. *Agencies