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North Korean nuclear test condemned

North Korean nuclear test condemned

Seoul, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 9 October 2006 - Greenpeace has condemned the underground testing of a nuclear weapon by North Korea. South Korea’s intelligence agency detected a 3.58 magnitude seismic tremor confirming the nuclear test announced by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA). By testing the weapon North Korea becomes the ninth country to have a nuclear arsenal.

"By going nuclear, North Korea has highlighted the weakness of the non-proliferation treaty. Pyongyang has underscored the dangerous connection between nuclear research, nuclear power and nuclear weapons," said Steve Shallhorn, Executive Director of Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Greenpeace has called for a restrained reaction from other countries, such as South Korea, Japan and the United States; there should also be a re-convening of the six-party talks.

"Nobody wants yet another country to have a nuclear arsenal, but with over 5,000 nuclear weapons in the arsenal of the United States of America, the relative balance of power has to be kept in mind" said Mr Shallhorn. "It’s bad enough that North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon, but it will be worse if other countries don't talk to them."

North Korea apparently does not have a reliable delivery system for nuclear weapons. The most recent test (July 2006) of a longer-range missile was a failure, with the missile breaking apart early in its flight. During a previous test over the Pacific, the missile also broke up in flight.

In contrast, the United States maintains nuclear missile carrying submarines in the Pacific at all times, in addition to maintaining nuclear-armed bombers at bases around the world including the Pacific island of Guam, and intercontinental missiles in silos in the United States. All are capable of reaching North Korea.

For further information please contact: Steve Shallhorn, Greenpeace Australia Pacific +61 (0)400 514 727 Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Communications, +44 (0)7801 212 960

Ends

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