International condemnation as North Korea claims 5th nuke test

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FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2015, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un salutes at a parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. South Korean and international monitoring agencies reported Friday, Sept. 9, 2016 an earthquake near North Korea's northeastern nuclear test site, a strong indication that Pyongyang had detonated its fifth atomic test explosion. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says it has conducted a “higher level” nuclear warhead test explosion, one that will allow it to finally build an array of stronger, smaller and lighter nuclear weapons. It is Pyongyang’s fifth atomic test and the second in eight months.

South Korea’s weather agency says the explosive yield of the North Korean blast would have been 10 to 12 kilotons, or 70 to 80 percent of the force of the 15-kiloton atomic bomb the United States dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. The North’sfourth test was an estimated six kilotons.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye strongly condemned the test, saying in a statement that it showed the “fanatic recklessness of the Kim Jong Un government as it clings to nuclear development.”

Park’s office says she spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama about the test Friday morning during a regional summit in Laos. Park said South Korea will employ all available measures to put more pressure on North Korea, which has previously conducted nuclear tests every three to four years.

The reported nuclear test explosion is drawing international condemnation.

China, the North’s only major ally, issued a statement criticizing Pyongyang for carrying out a test with “disregard” for international objections. The statement says China “resolutely opposes” the test and calls on North Korea to stop any behavior that “worsens the situation.”

France strongly condemned the nuclear test. It’s calling on the United Nations Security Council to quickly face the issue.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says North Korea’s nuclear test, if confirmed, is in clear violation of numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions and in complete disregard of the repeated demands of the international community.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Geneva, is expressing deep concern. Kerry says the U.S. is still trying to determine precisely what happened. Kerry didn’t refer to the event as a nuclear test.

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