UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today condemned in the "strongest possible terms" the fifth and "biggest" nuclear test conducted by North Korea, calling on the Security Council to take "appropriate action" against the reclusive state.
"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the underground nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
This is yet another brazen breach of the resolutions of the Security Council. For the fifth time in recent years, the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) alone has broken the international norm against nuclear tests," Ban said.
"This unacceptable act endangers peace and security in the region and is another vivid reminder of the urgent need to strengthen the global nuclear test ban regime," Ban said.
His statement came after South Korean and international monitoring agencies reported an earthquake near North Korea's north-eastern nuclear test site, indicating that Pyongyang may have detonated a new atomic test to mark the 68th anniversary of the country's founding.
"I count on the Security Council to remain united and take appropriate action. We must urgently break this accelerating spiral of escalation," he said, adding that the UN is monitoring and assessing developments related to the nuclear test in close coordination with the concerned international organisations, including the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, and with interested parties.
Ban said he is deeply disappointed, sad and concerned that despite continuous urges and appeals by the international community, North Korea is continuing with its "act of provocation".
"I do not simply understand why they continue to do so," Ban said, adding that for the last 10 years as Secretary General, he has been trying his best to "improve the situation" with North Korea.
"I regret that I have not been able to materialise all the wishes and aspirations of the international community. Practically speaking, my all wish and initiatives have not been materialised with all this changing situation in the Korean Peninsula," he said.
The UN Chief reiterated the united call of the international community on the leadership of the North Korea to reverse its course and commit to a path of denuclearisation.
"Rather than pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology, the DPRK should be promoting the well-being of the country's people," he said, adding that he hoped North Korea will heed to the calls of the international community and act as a responsible member state of the UN.
"We signalled further sanctions when last resolution was adopted so that needs to be looked at now," he said.
When asked that North Korea conducting tests faster than the Security Council is issuing statements speaks to irrelevance of Council, he said "it speaks to difficulty getting traction on this issue, and it has been difficult for 30 years. It has been very difficult and we are all very frustrated about this."