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North Korea's Alleged Nuclear Test Sparks Global Condemnation


North Korea's announced testing of a nuclear device has provoked near-universal condemnation across the globe.

President Bush was one of many world leaders to speak bluntly about North Korea's action, saying it threatens international peace and security. "The United States condemns this provocative act. Once again, North Korea has defied the will of the international community, and the international community will respond," he said.

President Bush said he discussed the matter with partners in multi-lateral nuclear discussions with Pyongyang. Those partners include South Korea, whose president, Roh Moo-hyun, said the apparent nuclear test would have far-reaching consequences for his nation's policies.

Mr. Roh issued both a warning and a prediction, saying it is now very difficult for Seoul to pursue a policy of engagement with North Korea.

Pyongyang's closest ally, China, said North Korea has acted "brazenly", while Russia's Foreign Ministry said the alleged nuclear test has threatened the peace, safety and stability of the region. Nevertheless, Russia urged a "measured" international response to the incident.

Elsewhere, British Prime Minister Tony Blair called North Korea's reported test "a completely irresponsible act" - a characterization echoed by European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana. The European Union has curtailed humanitarian assistance to Pyongyang, but EU officials say they have no immediate plans to reduce aid further.

In stark contrast to overwhelming global opinion, Iran blamed the United States for North Korea's alleged nuclear test. The Associated Press quotes Iranian State Radio as saying the test was a reaction to what it called U.S. threats and humiliation, and reaffirmed Tehran's determination to proceed with its own nuclear program.

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