UNITED NATIONS (CBSNewYork) — There was a swift American response to North Korea’s latest nuclear test.
President Barack Obama called it a “highly provocative act” that threatens world peace. The United Nations Security Council went into session Tuesday to consider actions against North Korea after the renegade country exploded its third nuclear device.
The Council called the test a “clear threat to international peace and security” in addition to promising further action.
“It was highly provocative. It violates numerous UN security resolutions. It’s destabilizing to the region. It’s a threat to the United States. It’s a threat to international peace and security,” said Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett.
North Korea said it successfully detonated a new nuclear device, saying it had a “great explosive power.”
It said the test was aimed at dealing with what it called “ferocious” U.S. hostility that is undermining the country’s right to launch satellites, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported.
Last week, the U.S. and South Korean navies launched military drills in the region as a show of force — something the North Koreans are furious about.
“They represent a serious threat to the United States of America and we’ve got to be prepared to deal with that,” said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
The test followed a successful launch of a long-range ballistic missile in December that many believe is capable of reaching the United States.
“There is concern they could come up with a delivery system for their nuclear weapons,” said former U.S. Ambassador to Korea Christopher Hill.
The United States has been successful in bringing together other nations to pressure North Korea. That includes China, one of North Korea’s staunchest allies. China agreed to an expansion of UN sanctions after the December rocket launch.
New York Sen. Charles Schumer said that is why China has to squeeze North Korea to stop the nuclear tests.
“The one country that has real say over North Korea is China because anything that doesn’t come by ship to North Korea comes through China and I think the Chinese have to do a whole lot more,” Schumer said.
“The United States stands steadfast in its defense commitments to its allies in the region, obviously including importantly Japan,” said U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos.
For now, the first line of attack is coming from the UN Security Council.
“Let’s see how that meeting goes. It’s not just about the United States’ response. There will be an international, firm response,” Jarrett said.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice promised tough new sanctions.
“This council has been quite clear the actions of North Korea are a threat to regional peace and security, international peace and security and they are not acceptable. They will not be tolerated and they will be met with North Korea’s increasing isolation,” Rice said.
Last month, North Korea’s National Defense Commission said the United States was its prime target for a nuclear test and long-range missile launches. In a statement, President Obama said the U.S. would take whatever steps necessary to defend itself and its allies.
The nuclear test was the first for North Korea since Kim Jong-un took over for his father Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011.
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