The United Nations Security Council has issued a statement which "strongly condemns" a North Korean nuclear test, calling it "a clear threat to international peace and security." The Council convened at short notice.
All 15 members of the Security Council approved a press statement criticizing a North Korean nuclear test as a violation of existing UN resolutions.
"The members of the Security Council strongly condemned this test, which is a grave violation of Security Council resolutions," South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, whose country currently chairs the council, told reporters after the meeting in New York. The South Korean minister said that China, typically Pyongyang's closest ally on the council, had also approved the statement.
"In line with this commitment and the gravity of this violation, the members of the Security Council will begin work immediately on appropriate measures in a Security Council resolution," Tuesday's statement said, describing its unscheduled meeting as "urgent consultations."
North Korea's official KCNA news agency said on Tuesday that seismic activity logged in the country overnight was a nuclear test as initially suspected.
"It was confirmed that the nuclear test that was carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously, and did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment," KCNA said.
'Increasing isolation and pressure'
The US envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said after the meeting that such actions "will not be tolerated and they will be met with North Korea's increasing isolation and pressure under United Nations sanctions."
Tuesday's document said that the test was a violation of three existing UN resolutions, numbers 1718 (from 2006), 1874 (from 2009) and this year's resolution 2087.
"The members of the Security Council recalled that in January they unanimously adopted resolution 2087, which expressed the council's determination to take 'significant action' in the event of a further DPRK nuclear test."
North Korea refers to itself as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
North and South Korea technically remain in a state of war, having signed an armistice - not a peace deal - on July 27, 1953.
msh/jlw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)