- The Washington Times - Monday, October 9, 2006

The following is the full text of President Bush’s statement yesterday after North Korea’s announcement that it had successfully conducted its first nuclear test:

Last night, the government of North Korea proclaimed to the world that it had conducted a nuclear test. We’re working to confirm North Korea’s claim. Nonetheless, such a claim itself constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

The United States condemns this provocative act. Once again, North Korea has defied the will of the international community, and the international community will respond.

This was confirmed this morning in conversations I had with leaders of China and South Korea, Russia and Japan. We reaffirmed our commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, and all of us agreed that the proclaimed actions taken by North Korea are unacceptable and deserve an immediate response by the United Nations Security Council.

The North Korean regime remains one of the world’s leading proliferators of missile technology, including transfers to Iran and Syria. The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States.

And we would hold North Korea fully accountable [for] the consequences of such action. The United States remains committed to diplomacy, and we will continue to protect ourselves and our interests. I reaffirmed to our allies in the region, including South Korea and Japan, that the United States will meet the full range of our deterrent and security commitments.

Threats will not lead to a brighter future for the North Korean people nor weaken the resolve of the United States and our allies to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Today’s claim by North Korea serves only to raise tensions, while depriving the North Korean people of the increased prosperity and better relations with the world offered by the implementation of the joint statement of the six-party talks.

The oppressed and impoverished people of North Korea deserve that brighter future. Thank you.

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