SA condemns North Korea's nuclear test

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pretoria - The South African government has joined the international community in condemning the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) underground nuclear test on Monday, calling it "unacceptable."

In a statement issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South African warned that nuclear weapons posed a threat to all humanity.

"The South African government wishes to state categorically that this alleged nuclear explosion is unacceptable. The possession of nuclear weapons does not create security, but rather diminishes it and constitutes a threat to all humanity," the Ministry said.

Government also called on North Korea to return to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to approve a nuclear test ban treaty and to place all its nuclear facilities and materials under UN safeguards.

North Korea on Monday tested a nuclear bomb, many times more powerful than its first in 2006, which sparked international condemnation.

In a statement released by the country's official news agency KCNA, the DPRK government said the test was "part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defence in every way as requested by its scientists and technicians."

Their test has also prompted the UN Security Council members to call an emergency session which voiced "the strong opposition to and condemnation of" the nuclear test.

Speaking to the media in New York after the closed-door Council consultations, which were held at the request of Japan, the rotating Council president for May, Vitaly Churkin said the council was opposing the nuclear test.

"The members of the Security Council voiced their strong opposition to and condemnation of the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on 25 May 2009, which constitutes a clear violation of (Security Council) Resolution 1718, which was adopted in 2006.

"The members of the Security Council demand that the DPRK will comply fully with its obligation under Resolutions 1695 (2006) and 1718 (2006) and other related Security Council resolutions and statements," the president said.

He further said the members of the Security Council have decided to start work immediately on a Security Council resolution on this matter in accordance with the Security Council's responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement issued by his spokesperson on Monday, said he "strongly deplores the conduct of an underground nuclear test" by the DPRK, "in clear and grave violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions."