President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday that the United States and its allies will take “swift and credible action” over North Korea’s latest nuclear test—a move he denounced as a “highly provocative act.”
In a written statement issued just before 2 A.M. Eastern Time Tuesday morning, Obama promised that the U.S. will be “steadfast” in its commitments to allies in the region. However, he was not specific about what steps the U.S. might take against North Korea or to shore up allies.
About an hour before Obama issued his statement, the Office of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sent reporters a release suggesting it was likely that North Korea had conducted a nuclear test. “The Intelligence Community is aware of a seismic event with explosive characteristics in North Korea and we are evaluating all relevant information,” the ODNI statement said.
The attention-grabbing test came on the same day Obama is scheduled to deliver the annual State of the Union address to Congress.
Obama’s full statement on the nuclear test follows:
North Korea announced today that it conducted a third nuclear test. This is a highly provocative act that, following its December 12 ballistic missile launch, undermines regional stability, violates North Korea’s obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, contravenes its commitments under the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and increases the risk of proliferation. North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a threat to U.S. national security and to international peace and security. The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and steadfast in our defense commitments to allies in the region.
These provocations do not make North Korea more secure. Far from achieving its stated goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, North Korea has instead increasingly isolated and impoverished its people through its ill-advised pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community. The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies. We will strengthen close coordination with allies and partners and work with our Six-Party partners, the United Nations Security Council, and other UN member states to pursue firm action.
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