U.S. President Barack Obama
“North Korea’s nuclear ballistic missile programs pose a great threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action. North Korea’s actions endanger the people of Northeast Asia, they are a blatant violation of international law, and they contradict North Korea’s own prior commitments.
“Now, the United States and the international community must take action in response. The record is clear: North Korea has previously committed to abandoning its nuclear program. Instead of following through on that commitment it has chosen to ignore that commitment. These actions have also flown in the face of United Nations resolutions. As a result North Korea is not only deepening its own isolation, it’s also inviting stronger international pressure — that’s evident overnight, as Russia and China, as well our traditional allies of South Korea and Japan, have all come to the same conclusion: North Korea will not find security and respect through threats and illegal weapons.
“We will work with our friends and our allies to stand up to this behavior and we will redouble our efforts toward a more robust international nonproliferation regime that all countries have responsibilities to meet.”
Japan‘s Prime Minister Taro Aso
“For us, it raises tensions in the region extremely.”
Russian Foreign Ministry
“The latest steps by North Korea escalate tensions in north-east Asia and endanger security and stability in the region.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
“We don’t have any cooperation (with North Korea) in this field. We oppose the production, the amassing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference. He said Iran has no missile or nuclear cooperation with North Korea. Military experts say Iran’s Shahab-3 missile is based on the North Korean Nodong missile, according to the BBC.
Chinese Foreign Ministry
“The Chinese side vehemently demands North Korea abides by its denuclearization promises, stop any actions which may worsen the situation and return to the six-party talks process.
“The Chinese government calls on all sides to calmly and appropriately deal (with the situation).”
South Korea Statement
“The nuclear test is a serious threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in north-east Asia and a serious challenge to the international regime on nuclear non-proliferation.”
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith
“[T]hey deserve and get nothing other than our absolute condemnation, and that condemnation should be echoed around our region and the globe.”
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
“This act will undermine prospects for peace on the Korean peninsula and will do nothing for North Korea’s security.”
“These irresponsible actions by Pyongyang pose a serious challenge to peace, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and are being universally condemned by the international community.
“We call upon Pyongyang to refrain from any other actions which could contribute to raising tensions and to restore dialogue within the Six-Party framework. The Alliance will continue to carefully monitor developments with deep concern.”
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff
The test show North Korea is “a country that I think continues to destabilize that region” and could in the long term be a significant threat to the United States.
Victor Cha, Korea chair, Center for Strategic & International Studies
“These tests could reflect a leadership transition in the North in which the stroke-afflicted leader Kim Jong-Il is gradually being succeeded by a coterie of hard-line loyalists and members of the Kim family.
“Internal political fluidity in totalitarian systems like North Korea usually gets externalized in belligerent, not conciliatory behavior.”
Xu Guangyu, researcher, China Arms Control and Disarmament Association
“This came unexpectedly quickly. But North Korea has been seeking ways to pressure the United States and South Korea to open up dialogue with them.”
“North Korea’s strategic objective hasn’t changed. That objective is to win the attention of the Obama administration, to push the North Korea issue up the agenda.”
Dong Yong-Sueng, senior fellow, Samsung Economic Research
“North Korea had already hinted at the possibility of a nuclear test and this test underscored its strong will to hold a nuclear deterrent.”
Scott Snyder, Asia Foundation
“Given internal events related to North Korea’s preparations for succession, the statement very much suggests a desire to ‘deter’ external interference in that process and to consolidate a deterrent capacity. This suggests a heightened feeling of vulnerability in Pyongyang.”