"North Korea slams US 'nuclear blackmail", pending United Nations sanctions

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North Korea's fifth and most powerful nuclear test on Friday has drawn global condemnation, with South Korea calling for tougher new sanctions against the communist state.

U.S., European and Chinese seismological agencies reported that the tremor was recorded at 0030 GMT at surface level.

The China Earthquake Networks Center said the tremor was a suspected explosion.

In talks with reporters Friday night, Abe said, "We shared the view that the latest nuclear test represents a different level of threat from North Korea and that the new threat requires a different level of response".

Under 32-year-old third-generation leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has sped up development of its nuclear and missile programs, despite United Nations sanctions that were tightened in March and have further isolated the impoverished country.

The man-made quake, detected by US instruments Friday at 5.3 in magnitude, was more powerful than any of the previous underground tests conducted by the government of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - indicating that the weapon detonated with a yield of about 10 kilotons.

North Korea marked the 68th anniversary of its founding with its most powerful nuclear test to date, triggering a magnitude 5.3 quake and reactions from worldwide leaders in the process. But they center on a technological mystery that has long bedeviled outside experts: How far has North Korea gotten in efforts to consistently shrink down nuclear warheads so they can fit on long-range missiles?

The January test was recorded with a magnitude of 5.1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

South Korea said the nuclear threat from its neighbor was growing fast as it called for tougher sanctions from the UN Security Council against the North.

"It is too early to bury the six-party talks".

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States had repeatedly offered talks to North Korea, but Pyongyang had to accept de-nuclearisation, which it had refused to do. "We should look for ways that would allow us to resume them", he said. "North Korea is seeking to ideal its nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles so they can hold the region and the world hostage under threat of nuclear strikes".

South Korea's U.N. Ambassador Oh Joon said he hopes agreement on a new resolution will come quickly.

Pyongyang's claims of being able to miniaturize a nuclear warhead have never been independently verified. It took two months of negotiations mainly between the US and China. But he added: "Given the consequences of getting it wrong, it is prudent for a military planner to plan for the worst".

"The standardisation of the nuclear warhead will enable the DPRK to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power", KCNA said, using the acronym for North Korea.

"This is more than brazen defiance", Power told reporters at United Nations headquarters.

"The important thing is that, five tests in, they now have a lot of nuclear test experience".