North Korean flags wave near an apartment building in Pyongyang. (stephan / CC BY-SA 2.0)

North Korea marked the 68th anniversary of its founding with its most powerful nuclear test to date, triggering a magnitude 5.3 earthquake and reactions from international leaders in the process.

The Guardian reports:

Barack Obama, who was briefed on board Air Force One by National Security Adviser Susan Rice as he returned to the US from an Asian tour, said provocative actions by North Korea would have “serious consequences”.

“To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state,” Obama said in a later statement. He said he would work “to take additional significant steps, including new sanctions, to demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to its unlawful and dangerous actions.”

The UN security council agreed at an urgent meeting on Friday to immediately begin work on a new raft of sanctions.

During the meeting behind closed doors, the council strongly condemned the test and agreed to begin drafting a new resolution under article 41 of the UN charter, which provides for sanctions.

Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan – which had called for the emergency UN meeting – described North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme as a “grave threat” to Japan. …

The South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, denounced the test as a clear violation of security council resolutions banning the North from developing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Park accused Kim of “maniacal recklessness” in his pursuit of building a viable nuclear arsenal, according to her office.

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—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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