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News of North Korea’s Nuclear Test Stuns World Leaders

Ray Suarez reports on world leaders' reaction to news that North Korea has detonated a nuclear device underground.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    North Korea defied world pressure today to carry out a large underground nuclear test. It brought swift criticism from the U.S., Russia, China, Japan, and the European Union.

    Ray Suarez has our lead story report.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    The announcement came via North Korean state television.

  • NORTH KOREAN NEWS ANCHOR (through translator):

    The current nuclear test was safely conducted on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology of its control. The results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Officials in Russia said the test site was 50 miles northwest of Kilju, the same place as North Korea's first test in 2006. And South Korean scientists confirmed strong seismic activity in that area today.

    LEE DUK-KI, director, South Korea Earthquake Monitoring Department (through translator): On May 25, 2009, an earthquake, assumed to be manmade, occurred near Kilju around 9:54 a.m.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    The North Korean program's first test had been small, suggesting a partial failure, but the Russians said today's explosion was comparable to the U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II.

    South Korea immediately convened a meeting of its national security council and put troops along the border on high alert.

    In the middle of the night, Washington time, just hours after the news broke, President Obama released a statement condemning the North Korean test. And later in the morning, he voiced his displeasure out loud.