Despite threats from international diplomats, North Korea followed through with its third nuclear test, inciting an outcry from U.S. officials and the United Nations Security Council overseeing the situation. Though North Korea claims the tests are for the purpose of developing nuclear energy technology, there is significant concern that the country is developing nuclear weapons. American military forces have been conducting naval exercises alongside South Korean troops in an apparent show of force in the Korean peninsula. North Korean officials view the exercises as an act of aggression by the United States, and said that the most recent test was a “first response” in case of future threats from the U.S.
“This nuclear test was our preliminary measure, for which we exercised our most restraint,” a statement from North Korea’s state news agency said. “If the United States continues to come out with hostility and complicates the situation, we will be forced to take stronger, second and third responses in consecutive steps.”
President Barack Obama reacted directly to the apparent threat from North Korea, promising “swift and credible action,” in response to the latest nuclear test. The president is due to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday night in Washington.
“These provocations do not make North Korea more secure. Far from achieving its stated goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, North Korea has instead increasingly isolated and impoverished its people through its ill-advised pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery,” Obama said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
“The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community. The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies.”
The United Nations continued its condemnation of the nuclear tests, believing that North Korea’s actions violate past Security Council resolutions. The U.N. will likely impose further sanctions on the country after the latest diplomatic failure.