The country conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test to date on Friday, sparking international shockwaves
North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test to date on Friday. The test, estimated at 10 kilotons, sparked international shockwaves.
The North howeves says its weapons programme is only a defence against US nuclear “blackmail”.
South Korea meanwhile said the nuclear threat from the North was growing fast and called for tough new sanctions from the UN Security Council to force it to change tack.
"It is believed that the North's nuclear capability is becoming more advanced to a considerable level, and at a faster pace," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se told senior ministry officials, calling for "more and stronger sanctions".
During a closed-door meeting on Friday, the council strongly condemned the test and agreed to begin drafting a new resolution under Article 41 of the UN charter, which provides for sanctions.
"The members of the Security Council will begin to work immediately on appropriate measures under Article 41 in a Security Council resolution," New Zealand's ambassador Gerard van Bohemen told reporters.
The blast at the Punggye-ri nuclear site was condemned by several countries including the South, US, Russia and China.
In Seoul, dozens of protesters burned an effigy of the North's dictator Kim Jong-Un and called for "strong retaliation", including pre-emptive attacks on the North's nuclear complex.
"Eliminate Kim Jong-Un!" and "Destroy North Korea's nuclear weapons!" the elderly activists shouted.
But, North Korea has said it will not submit to US "nuclear blackmail".
The North’s ruling party newspaper criticised South Korean President Park Geun-Hye over her condemnation of the North's ballistic missile tests and called her a “dirty prostitute” for working with US forces.
"Gone are the days never to return when the US could make a unilateral nuclear blackmail against the DPRK," said Rodong Sinmun, using the country's official name.
"The US is exasperated by the strong military steps being taken by the DPRK in a phased way."
North Korea has been subject to sanctions since 2006 but the country has, nevertheless, continued to develop its nuclear programme.
After its fourth test in March, sanctions were toughened to include North Korea's mineral trade and stricter banking restrictions.
However, this did not stop the isolated communist state from conducting a further 21 ballistic missile launches.
The Security Council met on Friday at the request of Japan, South Korea and the United States.
(WION, with inputs from AFP)