Israel seeks international response to N. Korea nuke test


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it views a nuclear test by North Korea with "extreme gravity."

North Korea announced Monday that it conducted a successful underground test-firing of a nuclear weapon, as well as tests on a short-range missile hours later, according to reports.

"Furthermore, Israel is concerned with North Korea’s nuclear proliferation, which has negative implications in this region," the statement by Israel’s Foreign Ministry said.  "Israel expects the international community to respond decisively to the nuclear detonation by North Korea, so as to transmit an unambiguous message to other countries."

The statement said North Korea is "party to the global concern caused by this event."

Monday’s nuclear test was similar in power to the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki at the end of World War II, with a force of about 20 kilotons, according to reports. The test apparently produced an earth tremor registering 4.7 on the Richter scale, the U.S. Geological Survey told Reuters. 

The United States and its allies are trying to confirm the facts of the test.

North Korea’s underground nuclear test is "a grave concern to all nations," President Obama said Monday.

"We are aware of the reports of a nuclear test by North Korea," a U.S. State Department official said. "We are consulting with our allies. Once we have established the facts, we will have more to say."

The Obama administration has indicated that it wants to make progress on containing North Korea’s nuclear program. 

North Korea conducted its first nuclear test on Oct. 9, 2006, which was widely condemned. Following the test, a multi-nation effort to dismantle the North Korean nuclear program took on a new urgency, but North Korea pulled out of the process last December, according to The New York Times.

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