"The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community," Obama said in a statement issued early Tuesday. "The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies."
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"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," he said.
"These provocations do not make North Korea more secure," Obama said. "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."
Earlier, North Korea confirmed that it successfully conducted a third nuclear test, saying it used a "miniaturized device" that had a greater explosive force than previous tests, the country's official news agency, KCNA, said.
KCNA added that the test was conducted in a safe manner and was aimed at coping with "outrageous US hostility that violently undermines the North's peaceful, sovereign right to launch satellites."
In January, North Korea's National Defense Commission said the United States was its prime target for a nuclear test and long-range rocket launches.
Test's area, the Yongbyon Nuclear Center (Photo: ISIS)
"It was confirmed that the nuclear test that was carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment," KCNA said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned North Korea's nuclear test, saying it was a "clear and grave violation" of UN Security Council resolutions.
The UN Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting over the test.
One Western diplomat said he hoped the council would approve an initial statement condemning the nuclear test, and begin work on a more comprehensive council reaction. Getting approval on a council resolution, however, could take weeks.
North Korean propaganda video shows US city in flames
"I understand that the DPRK announced it had carried out a third test of a nuclear weapon, despite calls from the international community not to do so," Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a statement. "This is deeply regrettable and is in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions."
'Test matter of deep concern'
Israel also condemned North Korea's nuclear test. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that "Israel strongly condemns North Korea's nuclear test, and joins the international community in expressing the grave danger that this act poses to regional stability and international peace and security.
"DPRK's nuclear test, together with its ballistic missile launch in December 2012, is part of its extensive ongoing nuclear and missile programs. These reflect North Korea's negative role in the region and raise grave concerns regarding proliferation of nuclear and ballistic technologies.
"These actions by the DPRK, in violation of its international obligations, must be met with a swift response by the international community. A clear message must be sent to DPRK and to other countries, that such activities are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated," the Israeli statement said.
"Reports of a nuclear test by North Korea are a matter of deep concern," India's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, adding that such actions violated international commitments and had an adverse impact on peace and stability in the region.
Anti-N. Korea poster in Seoul (Photo: Reuters)
"It is a matter of deep concern that DPRK has acted in violation of its international commitments in this regard," the ministry said, using an abbreviation of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. We call upon DPRK to refrain from such actions which adversely impact on peace and stability in the region," the statement said.
Russia and Britain expressed similar concerns to those voice by Obama and other Western nations, and condemned the test as well.
Russia's Defense Ministry said the power of North Korea's nuclear test blast surpassed 7 kilotons – larger than the North's two previous tests at 6-7 kilotons. The Hiroshima bomb was, by comparison, around 20 kilotons.
Longtime NK ally Iran said it "disapproves" of Pyongyang's nuclear test and calls for a world without nuclear weapons, Tehran officials said.
Faces with international censure, North Korea said Tuesday that its nuclear test was its "first response to US threats" and warned it will continue with unspecified "second and third measures of greater intensity" if the United States maintains its hostility.
The North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that its nuclear test Tuesday was a "self-defensive measure" that does not violate any international law.
Last week, North Korea released a propaganda video showing an American city being attacked by missiles while an instrumental version of "We are the World" plays.
Pyongyang regularly criticizes what it calls "US hostility that drives it to boost its nuclear programs."
AP contributed to this report
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