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China, other nations condemn North Korea's 2nd nuclear test

CHINA said yesterday it "resolutely opposed" a new nuclear weapons test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and joined other nations in calling on its neighbor to return to talks on ending its atomic program.

North Korea claimed that it carried out a powerful underground nuclear test yesterday - much larger than one conducted in 2006 - in addition to performing several missile launches.

The DPRK carried out the test in defiance of the international community and its own commitment to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, China's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry urged that the DPRK live up to its commitments, stop any activity that may worsen the situation and return to the six-party talks, which involve North Korea, China, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Russia.

The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency said the country "successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of measures to bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defense."

Russia said that the nuclear test breached a UN Security Council resolution and that Pyongyang's actions threatened regional security.

"The latest steps by North Korea escalate tensions in Northeast Asia and endanger security and stability in the region," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Russia confirmed an atomic explosion in northeastern North Korea, estimating the blast's yield at 10 to 20 kilotons - comparable to the bombs that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hours later, the DPRK test-fired three short-range, ground-to-air missiles, according to a report by the South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing unnamed sources.

UN Security Council resolutions bar North Korea from engaging in any ballistic missile-related activity.

United States President Barack Obama called the moves "blatant defiance" of the Security Council and a violation of international law that would further "isolate North Korea."

North Korea's claims "are a matter of grave concern to all nations," he said, calling for international action.

"North Korea's attempts to develop nuclear weapons, as well as its ballistic missile program, constitute a threat to international peace and security," Obama said.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown slammed the test as "erroneous, misguided and a danger to the world."

"North Korea's nuclear test poses a grave challenge to nuclear nonproliferation and clearly violates UN Security Council resolutions," Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said in Tokyo. "We are not tolerating this at all."


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