North Korea had informed the US that it planned to conduct a nuclear test prior to its underground detonation of an atomic device on Tuesday, a US State Department spokeswoman said.
The North Korean government “did inform us at the State Department of their intention to conduct a nuclear test, without citing any specific timing prior to the event”, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news briefing Tuesday.
Ms.Nuland declined to provide a detailed account of the notification Pyongyang gave Washington about its plans for the test, which was condemned by governments throughout the world Tuesday. She said only that the State Department was informed by North Korea via the “usual channels”.
The two countries do not maintain diplomatic relations, though North Korea reportedly passes messages to the US government at the United Nations in New York City.
Ms.Nuland called the nuclear test, which was the third conducted by North Korea in defiance of UN resolutions, “highly regrettable” and said that Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken with his counterparts in Korea, China and Japan.
In a statement earlier on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama called the nuclear test a “highly provocative act” that “undermines regional stability” and violates Pyongyang’s obligations under several UN Security Council resolutions.
“These provocations do not make North Korea more secure,” Mr. Obama said. “Far from achieving its stated goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, North Korea has instead increasingly isolated and impoverished its people through its ill-advised pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.”