Senior White House officials tell NBC News Tuesday morning that the president will address North Korea's latest nuclear test, emphasizing that the nation's leaders will only further isolate their country from the rest of the world if they continue these threats and that they cannot help legitimize their government until they "live up to their international obligations."
This third atomic test is the first overseen by its new young leader, Kim Jong Un, and comes in direct defiance of U.N. warnings. Officials claim it was a "first response" to U.S. threats, adding that additional "measures of greater intensity" would be taken if the U.S. "continues with their hostility and complicates the situation."
The isolated state also claims this test was more powerful than prior tests, and seismic activity seems to confirm that.
The White House criticized the test in a statement released soon after North Korea confirmed that seismic activity detected by U.S. Geological Survey was in fact a nuclear test, calling it a "highly provocative act" that "undermines regional stability." The statement went on to say that North Korea's aggression had mostly hurt its own people:
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.