Pretoria - The South African government condemned the latest nuclear test conducted by North Korea, the department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco) said on Tuesday.
“Since the announcement by the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) in February 2005 that it had developed a nuclear weapon (of) deterrent capability, South Africa has consistently called on the DPRK to verifiably dismantle any nuclear weapons,” Dirco said in a statement.
“(It also called for DPRK to) return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) without delay, place all its facilities under comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification, and to contribute through strengthened confidence-building measures to global nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.”
On Tuesday, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test in the remote north-east, the Associated Press reported.
This was reportedly a crucial step toward its goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on a missile capable of striking the United States.
North Korea made clear that its third atomic test was a warning to what it considers a hostile United States. Its actions drew immediate condemnation from Washington, the United Nations, and others. Even its only major ally, China, voiced opposition, AP reported.
International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said:
“South Africa believes that it is a prerequisite for peace and security in the region that the DPRK, as a confidence building measure, verifiably proves to the international community that it has permanently and fully dismantled any nuclear weapons.
“South Africa continues to urge all parties involved to avoid any actions that could exacerbate the volatile situation in the region.” - Sapa