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(2nd LD) Nat'l Assembly holds emergency meetings on N. Korea's nuke test

All News 18:10 September 09, 2016

(ATTN: RECAST throughout with updates)

SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliamentary intelligence committee held emergency meetings on Friday following North Korea's decision to carry out a fifth nuclear test, despite strong warnings by the international community.

The closed door meeting came after a magnitude 5 earthquake was detected near North Korea's nuclear site in the country's northeastern region earlier in the day. Pyongyang's state media confirmed it conducted a nuclear weapons test.

During the gathering of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee, South Korea's spy agency said it is concerned about North Korea's faster-than-expected efforts to produce smaller nuclear weapons.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said that the latest test, while more powerful that previous detonations, does not seem to be a hydrogen bomb. It added that based on previously collected intelligence, Pyongyang may conduct sixth and seventh nuclear tests at any time it wants.

Besides the meeting with NIS, South Korea's ruling and opposition parties also held separate meetings to discuss the provocations.

South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party, as well as the Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK) and the People's Party all held respective meetings to discuss follow up measures to this latest provocation.

"The latest test shows that North Korea developed its nuclear weapons to be smaller and lighter, making such weapons a realistic threat," Rep. Yeom Dong-yeol, the spokesman of the ruling party, said.

Yeom added the provocation calls for an immediate and strong actions by the international community, adding South Korea should join forces with neighboring countries to come up with effective countermeasures.

"The issue is too critical and serious to be considered as a usual development," Saenuri leader Rep. Lee Jung-hyun also said.

The MPK echoed the view, adding the nuclear test is a clear violation of the United Nations' resolution.

"There are no ruling and opposition parties when it comes to security," Rep. Keun Tae-sup of the Minjoo said. "Our party will handle the North Korean nuclear crisis with the government and the ruling party in a cooperative manner."

"North Korea's repeated nuclear tests are grave provocations that escalate instability in Northeast Asia as well as military tension on the Korean Peninsula," Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party also said.

On Friday, the three parties, in a rare show of unity, jointly reached a resolution that condemns North Korea's nuke test at the Foreign Affairs & Unification Committee.

The resolution is set to be passed during the regular session of the National Assembly on Sept. 20.

In an unanimous decision, the lawmakers agreed that the latest nuclear test is a severe provocation against the lives and safety of South Koreans, as well as world peace.

The resolution also claimed that parliament will not tolerate North Korea's development of nuclear weapons, and urged Pyongyang to give up every nuclear-related programs.

The defense committee also reached a similar resolution that condemns Pyongyang.

(2nd LD) Nat'l Assembly holds emergency meetings on N. Korea's nuke test - 1


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