“The president indicated he would continue to consult our allies and partners in the days ahead to ensure provocative actions from North Korea are met with serious consequences,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
North Korea declared it had conducted a “successful” fifth nuclear test, which South Korea described as the largest explosion of its kind by Pyongyang.
The White House stopped short of calling it a nuclear test, referring to “reported seismic activity” near a known North Korean nuclear test site.
Obama was briefed on the situation as he flew home from a trip to Asia aboard Air Force One, Earnest said.
He said Obama, who arrived in Washington shortly after midnight Thursday, also consulted with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in separate phone calls from the presidential aircraft.
“The president reiterated the unbreakable US commitment to the security of our allies in Asia and around the world,” Earnest said.
France’s Hollande condemns nuclear test
French President Francois Hollande “strongly condemns” North Korea’s latest nuclear test and called on the UN Security Council to take up “this violation of its resolutions,” his office said Friday.
“The international community must unite against this new provocation which comes after unanimous condemnation by the Security Council of the ballistic missile tests by North Korea on Monday,” it said in a statement.
North Korea declared earlier Friday it had conducted a “successful” fifth nuclear test, which South Korea described as the largest explosion of its kind by Pyongyang.
Pyongyang later said the blast had confirmed that it could mount a nuclear warhead on a rocket.
US President Barack Obama warned of “serious consequences” and called the leaders of South Korea and Japan for consultations.
China ‘firmly opposes’ N. Korean test
China “firmly opposes” North Korea’s nuclear test, the foreign ministry of Pyongyang’s main diplomatic protector said Friday, after its fifth atomic blast.
Pyongyang’s state media said the test had been successful and achieved its goal of being able to fit a miniaturised nuclear warhead on a rocket.
“Today, the DPRK again conducted a nuclear test despite widespread international opposition – the Chinese government firmly opposes this,” the ministry in Beijing said in a statement on its website, using the North’s official name.
“We strongly urge the DPRK to honour its commitment to denuclearisation, comply with the relevant security council resolutions and stop taking any actions that worsen the situation,” it added.
The statement called for the issue to be resolved through six-party talks – the long-stalled negotiations process chaired by China that also brings together the two Koreas, Japan, Russia and the United States.
China’s environmental protection ministry activated a contingency plan following the blast, the official news agency Xinhua reported, adding that it was monitoring for radiation on the North Korean border.
Ties between China and the North have become strained in recent years as Pyongyang has pressed ahead with its nuclear tests, and with Kim Jong-Un yet to visit Beijing since inheriting power from his father, who died in 2011.
UN watchdog says nuclear test ‘deeply troubling’
North Korea’s latest and fifth nuclear test, if confirmed, is “deeply troubling and regrettable”, the head of the UN atomic watchdog said Friday.
“This is in clear violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions and in complete disregard of the repeated demands of the international community,” said Yukiya Amano, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“It is a deeply troubling and regrettable act,” Amano said in a statement.
The UN Security Council had in Resolution 2270 in March “condemned in the strongest terms” North Korea’s previous test in January, Amano said.
It had reaffirmed that Pyongyang must “abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and immediately cease all related activities,” he recalled.
“The Agency continues to closely follow the DPRK (North Korea) nuclear issue. We remain ready to contribute to its peaceful resolution by resuming our verification activities in the country once a political agreement is reached among countries concerned,” Amano said.
The Vienna-based IAEA was kicked out of North Korea in 2009.
Pyongyang’s state media said the latest test, which comes after a series of ballistic missile launches that have drawn international condemnation and UN sanctions, had achieved its goal of being able to fit a miniaturised nuclear warhead on a rocket.