Skip to main content

North Korea Nuclear Test

Volume 614: debated on Wednesday 14 September 2016

On 9 September North Korean state media claimed that the country had successfully conducted its fifth nuclear test at 00:30 GMT (09:00 Pyongyang). The Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organisation reported seismic signatures from a location close to where North Korea conducted its January nuclear test. We assess that the seismic event was caused by a nuclear test. The magnitude of this latest test was slightly larger than the one that occurred in January.

This nuclear test is a serious violation of UN Security Council resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094 and 2270. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes continue to pose a significant threat to international security and regional stability, and hinder the prospects for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

On 9 September the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson), issued a statement strongly condemning the nuclear test as a grave violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The Foreign Secretary has spoken to his counterparts in Japan and Australia to discuss the nuclear test and the international response and we are in close touch with other partners, including the United States and the Republic of Korea.

The UK strongly supported the UN Security Council’s swift condemnation of this nuclear test in an emergency session on 9 September. The UN Security Council agreed that this test was a clear violation of existing Security Council resolutions, and that there should be a robust response including immediate work on further significant measures.

I summoned the North Korean ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 12 September in order to underline, in the strongest terms, the UK’s firm condemnation of this nuclear test and to make clear to North Korea that it must engage constructively with the international community or it will face an increasingly tough international response. Amid reports of widespread hardship and human rights violations, the priority must be the health and welfare of the North Korean people rather than continuation of the nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

We continue to urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to credible and authentic multilateral talks on its nuclear programme, to abide by its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and to permit full access by the International Atomic Energy Agency.