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Finnish PM condemns "reckless" North Korea nuclear test

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä has criticised the latest nuclear test by North Korea as "reckless", adding that it contravenes international agreements banning nuclear weapons. The PM said that the tremor resulting from the detonation was even felt in Finland and that the test has "changed the world."

Juha Sipilä
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Speaking during his monthly question time with the media, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä condemned reports that North Korea had tested a new nuclear weapon on Sunday.

On Sunday Pyongyang announced that it had tested a new hydrogen bomb that could be fitted on an intercontinental missile.

The test generated a powerful tremor that was initially thought to be an earthquake. However the cause was later determined to be the detonation of a powerful nuclear weapon.

"Of course Finland joins other countries in condemning North Korea’s nuclear test. It was a reckless act and it violates all international agreements limiting the use of nuclear weapons," Sipilä said Sunday afternoon.

"What will happen going forward? The UN Security Council should assemble as soon as possible and decide on sanctions. The sanctions should seek to limit foreign income, export income from North Korea for as long as possible, so as to curtail this nuclear programme," Sipilä added.

Time to stay calm

The PM rejected initial calls for a military response from the United States and South Korea.

"Of course the most important thing now would be to maintain composure and to make decisions about the next steps via the UN Security Council. I would predict that the steps would involve tightening economic sanctions," the PM observed.

He noted that he did not believe that it would be possible to get North Korea around the negotiating table.

"There have been many attempts, but North Korea has acted very recklessly and so far at least, there has not been any demonstration of any kind ability to cooperate from that direction."

He added that sanctions should target the energy sector.

"The central players have already condemned this test and sanctions affecting coal, steel and perhaps oil products should be considered."

A test that "changed the world"

Government’s foreign and security policy committee also considered the developments in North Korea last Friday.

"We received a situation review from the Foreign Ministry. I believe that the international community will come together and that in spite of the increased pressure can resolve the situation. I don’t believe that North Korea dares to take these threats any further," the PM remarked.

He declared that the latest test by North Korea had changed the world.

"Apparently this has been the largest test detonation that North Korea has ever conducted. It was detected all the way here in Finland. This obviously represents serious progress on this front and measures should reflect this," he concluded.

According to Sipilä, Finland can rest easy, but he noted that it’s clear that the escalating threats add to international tensions.

"On the other hand, the international community has been quite unified in that Russia, China, Japan, the USA and European countries have all condemned this in the same way. I believe that the UN Security Council can make sound and consistent decisions."

Sipilä noted that China had been among the first to condemn the test and that there had been no disagreement within the international community on the matter.

"It is precisely through these sanctions, that we will now be able to discuss new issues where we have not been able to achieve unanimity."

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