North Korea has once again defied the International community, this time detonating an underground nuclear device which some are comparing as equivalent in power “to the bombs which hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki”.
The force of yesterday’s blast was between 10 and 20 kilotons, according to Russia’s defence ministry, vastly more than the estimated one-kiloton blast three years ago.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency said that based on recorded seismic activity, the energy level of the test was four times bigger than the last one.
Meeting in emergency session, the UN Security Council unanimously condemned the test, while council president Vitaly Churkin of Russia said members would immediately begin working on a resolution to address Pyongyang’s latest move.
According to The Australian, the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said “the US thinks this is a grave violation of international law, and a threat to regional and international peace and security.
“And therefore, the United States will seek a strong resolution with strong measures,” she added.
“We believe it ought to be a strong resolution with appropriately strong contents, but obviously unless and until we complete the negotiation process, it is premature to say what its contents will be.”
Russia said the test would “provoke an escalation of tensions in northeast Asia”, according to a foreign ministry statement, while British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the test was a “danger to the world.”
However, aside from issuing a statement of “international condemnation” and possibly imposing new sanctions, is there anything that can really be done to bring the rogue nation and its unpredictable leader into line?
What can be done now?
Despite moves last night towards a new resolution, most analysts say the UN security council can do little more than condemn the test and tighten existing sanctions since Russia and China are unlikely to accept new measures. “This time we will likely get a stronger response than [to the] rocket launch since there is no ambiguity … but whether the council will have any tools to use is another question. Against North Korea, it seems highly unlikely,” Tim Savage, deputy director of the Nautilus Institute, told Reuters.