09/10/2006

North Korea condemned over nuclear test

North Korea's announcement that it has carried out its first nuclear test has been greeted with criticism.

Prime Minister Tony Blair branded the test was "irresponsible". He said: "The international community has repeatedly urged them to refrain from both missile testing and nuclear testing.

"This further act of defiance shows North Korea's disregard for the concerns of its neighbours and the wider international community."

According to reports, the test was carried out around 0230 BST and was hailed by North Korea as a complete success.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said that she was "horrified" by the reports and said that the international community would have to take "very, very careful stock."

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said that the introductions of sanctions were essential. He said: "This represents a major escalation in the proliferation of nuclear weapons. A unified response on the part of the United Nations and from North Korea's closest neighbours, particularly China, is vital.

"This is a deliberate provocation which must not go unpunished. Sanctions are essential. These sanctions should target the regime, not the North Korean people."

The test has also been criticised by both the US and China.

(KMcA/SP)

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