— Leaders from around the world are condemning North Korea's latest nuclear test.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the move as "deeply destabilizing." He said it is a "clear and grave violation" of sanctions banning Pyongyang from nuclear and missile tests.
U.S. President Barack Obama called the test "highly provocative." He said in a statement it undermines regional stability and will not make North Korea safer. He called for "swift and credible" international action in response.
In an exclusive interview with VOA,
Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the test represents a significant international threat.
"North Korea has announced their nuclear test succeeded. I think [it] means a big threat, not only to Japan, but also to the East Asia region, as a whole," he said. "North Korea has also managed to develop an improved version of the “Taepodong 2” - a long-range ballistic missile, last December. Therefore, this nuclear threat is not only a concern for Japan, but also the world."
In South Korea, President-elect Park Geun-hye, meeting with President Lee Myung-bak, said the test does nothing to help North Korea's position in the world.
"I think it only made North Korea turn [the] international society into North Korea's enemy and made itself isolated," she said.
Speaking from South Africa, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned the test, but cautioned against a military overreaction in the region.
"We firmly count that today's action by Pyongyang, which deserves condemnation, will not be used as a pretext for an increasing of military activity in the area of the Korean peninsula,'' he said.
Speaking in Paris, British Foreign Minister William Hague discussed what the appropriate international reaction to the test should be.
"There is additional pressure that can be placed on North Korea, and additional sanctions that can be put in place that, of course, have the most effect," he said."That they have the strong support of China, of course a key nation in this regard and a permanent member of the Security Council, and China agreed that there could be significant action if this happened. So, we will now look to them to discuss that with them.''
NATO said the nuclear test, combined with North Korea's December missile launch, poses a "grave threat to international peace, security and stability."
China, North Korea's main ally, expressed what it called "firm opposition" to the test. Beijing's foreign ministry urged Pyongyang to abide by its non-nuclear commitment, saying the issue should be resolved in the framework of long-stalled, six-nation de-nuclearization talks.
An extra edition of a Japanese newspaper was delivered reporting North Korea's nuclear test, in Tokyo, February 12, 2013.
South Korean protesters burn a North Korean flag following a report of the nuclear test conducted by North Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, February 12, 2013.
Japan Meteorological Agency's earthquake and tsunami observations division director Akira Nagai points to a spot on the map showing the quake center during a news conference in Tokyo, February 12, 2013.
South Korean soldiers check military fences as they patrol near the demilitarized zone separating North Korea from South Korea, in Paju, north of Seoul, February 12, 2013.
A screen grab of the Nuclear Test Facility site in North Korea, via Google Maps satellite view.
South Korean soldiers monitor computers at the Seoul train station following a report about a possible nuclear test conducted by North Korea, February 12, 2013.
A video grab from KCNA shows the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket launching at North Korea's West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at the satellite control center in Cholsan county, North Pyongang province December 12, 2012.
North Koreans celebrate the successful launch of the Unha-3 rocket at Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang December 14, 2012. The sign reads: "Let's glorify dignity and honor of great people of Kim Il Sung and of Korea of Kim Jong Il in the world!"