The European Union and NATO have joined international condemnation against North Korea's alleged testing of a nuclear weapon. But the E.U. does not plan on cutting off aid to Pyongyang.
In statement after statement, members of the European Union issued a barrage of harsh words against North Korea's announcement it had tested a small atomic weapon underground.
Finland, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, denounced the alleged test as unacceptable. It said in a statement that the test "profoundly jeopardizes regional stability and represents a severe threat to international peace and security."
Similar condemnation was voiced by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana during a joint press conference in Brussels.
De Hoop Scheffer described the apparent testing as unacceptable. Solana echoed those remarks. "This act of North Korea - I would like to condemn it and call it, in the most strong words, an irresponsible act," he said.
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair called the apparent testing "a completely irresponsible act," and Spain's foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos urged North Korea to resume international talks on its nuclear program. A number of European officials, including French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, are urging a tough response to North Korea on the part of the international community.
But during a visit to Malaysia, the EU external affairs commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said the bloc had no immediate plans to cut nearly $13 million of humanitarian aid to North Korea this year. That assistance is already down from about $26 million in European aid in 2005.