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(LEAD) S. Korea: N. Korea's nuke test blatant dismissal of int'l consensus

All Headlines 12:36 September 09, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout)

SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's nuclear test constitutes a blatant disregard of international consensus on zero-tolerance towards Pyongyang's nuclear program, South Korea's top negotiator on the North's nuclear weapons said Friday, vowing to push forward retaliatory measures.

"North Korea is judged to have conducted its fifth nuclear test in the morning despite the international community's repeated warnings," Kim Hong-kyun, special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, said at the start of an emergency meeting of foreign ministry officials. "It was conducted only eight months after its fourth nuclear test."

South Korean and foreign seismic agencies detected an artificial, magnitude 5 earthquake in North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site at around 9:39 a.m.

The military said the quake indicates the North may have conducted a nuclear test with an estimated explosive yield of some 10 kilotons.

"It is a blatent challenge to the international community's consensus as well as the U.S., China, Japan, and Russia's stance not to tolerate North Korea's nuclear program," Kim said, referring to recent multilateral gatherings in China and Laos. "It catapults the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asian region into a security crisis and poses a direct threat to global peace."

South Korea will promptly take steps to introduce further retaliatory measures at the United Nations Security Council, he vowed. "(We) will take speedy and intensive countermeasures over North Korea's latest act and make it face the punishment it deserves."

A high-ranking ministry official said South Korea is planning to arrange telephone conferences with the top diplomats of the United States and Japan to discuss North Korea's suspected nuclear test.

"Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, now traveling in Laos with President Park Geun-hye, is seeking to have consultations with close allies," the high-ranking official said.

He noted that Yun is planning to have talks with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, John Kerry and Fumoi Kishida, over the phone to discuss the issue.

The ministry official said South Korea is currently in the process of also arranging talks among the top negotiators of the six-party forum on denuclearizing North Korea, a gathering of South Korea, North Korea, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia.

pbr@yna.co.krp
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