THE Department of International Affairs and Co-operation said the government has "noted with serious concern" the reported nuclear weapons test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

North Korea staged its fifth and largest-ever nuclear test last week‚ according to international reports. The foreign minister was quoted as saying nuclear tests were part of a legitimate defence policy.

Dirco noted the latest action followed a nuclear weapons test conducted by Korea on January 6 2016 and subsequent missile launches "in flagrant violation" of Korea’s obligations under various UN Security Council resolutions.

"SA shares the concerns of the international community regarding the nuclear weapon- and delivery-system-related activities of the DPRK. We therefore urge the DPRK to adhere fully to its Security Council-mandated obligations‚ to return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to fulfil its safeguard obligations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

The department said in the statement that SA supported a negotiated solution that addressed the issues of the Korean Peninsula in a holistic manner "and urges the DPRK to fulfil its commitments under the Six-Party Talks with a view to achieving the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner".

"We strongly urge the DPRK and all states involved to refrain from any further acts of provocation which may undermine the pursuit of such a negotiated solution or that could further increase tensions in the North East Asian region and beyond.

"The latest events reinforce SA’s conviction that nuclear weapons continue to constitute a grave threat to international peace and security. We join the vast majority of UN member states and the UN secretary-general in calling for urgent action to eradicate all nuclear weapons‚ once and for all.

"The latest test also emphasises the urgency for those states that have not yet done so‚ particularly those that possess nuclear weapons‚ to join the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty so as to facilitate its entry into force without any further delay."

TMG Digital

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