North Korea early on Tuesday conducted a widely anticipated nuclear test - in Punggye-Ri near the Chinese border - amid rising diplomatic tension over the Communist country's nuclear capabilities and growing apprehension about peace in the Korean Peninsula.
"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on Tuesday that it has successfully conducted a third nuclear test to safeguard national security against US hostile policy, the official (North Korean) KCNA news agency reported," the state-run Xinhua said in a report in the afternoon.
The nuclear test was carried out with simultaneous statements from capital Pyongyang that the isolated and poor country will continue launching powerful long-range rockets.
The KCNA said a statement that the test - the third nuclear test after 2006 and 2009 - was part of the country's "practical measures of counteraction" to defend its security and sovereignty against hostile US policies, which it claimed have violated DPRK's "rights to launch satellite for peaceful purposes."
Interestingly, the statement added that test was carried out on a "smaller and light A-bomb unlike previous ones yet with great explosive power."
It remains for experts to decipher that as smaller and lighter bomb, how easy it could be to transport the device.
Close ally China's reaction was framed in angry terms. "The Chinese government in firmly opposed to this act," the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement, adding it was in "disregard of the common opposition of the international community."
"We strongly urge the DPRK to honour its commitment to denuclearisation and refrain from any move that may further worsen the situation," China said.
Denuclearising the Korean Peninsula, preventing nuclear proliferation and safeguarding peace and stability in Northeast Asia is the firm stand of the Chinese side, the statement said.
Xinhua reported that the DPRK had notified the US and China of its plan a day earlier.
On the continuing missile launched, KCNA said in a statement: "A decision adopted Monday by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) "stressed the need to continue launching satellites of Kwangmyongsong series and powerful long-range rockets."