MY words, i was wrong, it was north Korea that gave the US< and China a one hour warning,
North Korea conducted a second nuclear test on Monday, triggering an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on the reclusive state's defiant act and drawing global condemnation.
Financial markets in Asia wobbled briefly on the news, but since neither Korea is an oil supplier, the impact on oil prices was expected to be limited. U.S. and British markets were closed for a holiday.
President Barack Obama said Pyongyang's bid to develop nuclear weapons was a threat to international peace and security and the international community would need to respond.
The North's neighbor and long-time benefactor, China, said it was "resolutely opposed" to the test.
Russia, which called the test a threat to regional security, said the blast was about equal in power to the U.S. atom bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki in World War Two, or about 20 times larger than the North's one kiloton test in 2006.
But the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization contested that, saying the magnitude of the latest test was "slightly higher than in 2006, measuring 4.52 on the Richter scale, while in 2006 it was 4.1.
Raising tensions further, North Korea test-fired three short-range missiles hours later, Yonhap news agency said.
"North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a grave threat to the peace and security of the world, and I strongly condemn their reckless action," Obama said at the White House. "The United States and the international community must take action in response,.
Officials in Washington and Beijing said North Korea had warned their governments of the test about an hour before detonation but nearby Japan said it was not given advance notice.
Germany, France, Britain and the EU were among those condemning Pyongyang's act, while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply worried." The U.N. Security Council was to hold emergency talks on Monday at 4 p.m. EDT.
The latest test will confound the international community, which has for years tried a mixture of huge aid pledges and tough economic sanctions to persuade the impoverished North to give up efforts to build a nuclear arsenal.
It is also bound to raise concerns about proliferation, a major worry of the United States which has in the past accused Pyongyang of trying to sell its nuclear know-how to states such as Syria.
Iran, which the West accuses of secretly developing atomic weapons and which conducted a missile test last week, said it had no missile or nuclear cooperation with North Korea [ID:nDAH549489]
NATO called for North Korea to refrain from raising tensions further. "These irresponsible actions by Pyongyang pose a serious challenge to peace, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," the NATO statement said.
Analysts said the North Korea's test also will force Washington to acknowledge that its leverage over the unpredictable state is at best limited. The United States must hope China will put pressure on Pyongyang, despite its fear of destabilizing its poor, secretive neighbor.
MARKETS BRIEFLY UNSETTLED
South Korea's main stock market fell more than 6 percent at one stage but its decline was short-lived. Analysts said investors were used to the North's saber-rattling, even as it became more aggressive, and would likely panic only if there was military conflict on a peninsula where 2 million troops face each other across one of the world's most heavily armed borders.
North Korea already is so isolated there is little left with which to punish an autocratic government that has been ready to take dealings with the outside world to the brink.
Its leaders repeatedly stress the threat from the United States to justify heavy spending on the military that keeps them in power but which has meant deepening poverty, and at times famine, for many of its 23 million people.
The official KCNA news agency said the North had "successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defense in every way."
North Korean neighbor China Monday echoed concerns by other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
"The Chinese side vehemently demands North Korea abides by its denuclearization promises, stop any actions which may worsen the situation and return to the six-party talks process," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website (www.mfa.gov.cn).
"The Chinese government calls on all sides to calmly and appropriately deal (with the situation)."
Analysts said, however, Beijing was unlikely to back stronger sanctions as part of a new U.N. Security Council resolution, for fear that North Korea might collapse, releasing a flood of refugees across its border.
The test comes as speculation has mounted that leader Kim Jong-il, his health uncertain after reports of a stroke last year, wants to strengthen an already iron grip on power so he can better secure the succession for one of his three sons.
North Korea had for weeks threatened to conduct the test in response to tighter international sanctions following its April launch of a rocket, widely seen as a disguised long-range missile that violated U.N. resolutions.
Following the tightened sanctions, Pyongyang also said it would no longer be a party to six-country talks with China, Russia, the United States, Japan and South Korea on giving up its nuclear weapons program.
"North Korea's strategic objective hasn't changed. That objective is to win the attention of the Obama administration, to push the North Korea issue up the agenda," said Xu Guangyu, a researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.