North Korea went ahead with its much-criticized third nuclear test Tuesday, rattling the security situation in northeast Asia and subjecting itself to more sanctions from the United States.
While the White House has not responded immediately to requests for comments on the forbidden tests, it surely poses an intractable foreign policy challenge for Presidentjust a couple of hours before his State of the Union address.
Defying the United Nations Security Council orders to shut down the automatic activity immediately, North Korea successfully denoted a miniaturized nuclear device at its north eastern test site, taking it a couple of steps closer to its goal of building a nuclear warhead that is to be mounted on its long-range missile threatening the security of the US and several other nations.
Following the test, the United States Geological Survey said that it had detected a 4.9-magnitude earthquake in North Korea and, according to South Korea, it sounded and felt unnatural. A spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry said at the time that once they came to the final conclusion that it was a nuclear test, they would consult the international community and respond strongly toward North Korea.
The third test comes at a time when other Asian neighbors are on holidays, celebrating the beginning of the new lunar year. It also comes just after the birthday of Kim Jong II, the former leader of North Korea.
However, most importantly it arrives under severe international condemnation and threat of more sanctions after the new leader, Kim Jong Un said that he plans to stick closely to his late father’s policy of keeping North Korea strong enough to keep the enemies at a distance.
While initially Pyongyang claimed that the launches were being carried out for peaceful purposes, the tests are being considered a threat to many nations that oppose them.
The announcement by North Korea came in December that despite concerns from major world leaders, it would carry on with this nuclear test and more long-range rocket launches as part of its confrontation with the United States. North Korea accuses Washington for urging UN Security Council members to punish it for its December rocket launch.
In a Jan. 23 statement, North Korea’s defense commission said that the US remains its primary target for an attack and that now its missiles are fully capable of striking the foe.