North Korea Conducts Nuclear Test

North Korea confirmed through its official news agency KCNA that it conducted an underground nuclear test on Tuesday. The test employed “a miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force” than previously tested and “did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment,” reported Reuters, citing KCNA. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the test “a highly provocative act” that “undermines regional stability,” among the detrimental effects. He called for “further swift and credible action by the international community” to deal with this provocation. This is North Korea’s third nuclear test, following underground events in 2006 and 2009. The New York Times reported that preliminary estimates suggest a device more powerful than the ones used in the previous two tests, but probably less powerful than the atomic bomb that the United States dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945. The test comes on the same day as President Obama will deliver his State of the Union speech and comes as South Korea’s political leadership is about to change. It follows North Korea’s mid-December launch of a long-range rocket.