North Korea confirmed Tuesday that it had conducted its long-
threatened third nuclear test. The blast provoked international
rebukes, elicited pledges of punitive action from the U.N. Security
Council and posed a new challenge for the Obama administration in
its effort to keep the country from becoming a full-fledged nuclear
The official KCNA news service of North Korea said the country used a "miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously" and that the test "did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment."
The test drew a crescendo of international denunciations, with President Barack Obama calling it a "highly provocative act" that demands "swift and credible action by the international community."
Russia, Britain, South Korea and the United Nations also condemned the blast.
The test is the first under the country's new leader, Kim Jong Un, and an open act of defiance to the Chinese, who had urged Kim not to risk confrontation by setting off the weapon. In a relatively muted statement issued several hours after the blast, China expressed its "staunch opposition" to the test.
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