Dem senator calls for US to respond 'resolutely' to North Korea

Dem senator calls for US to respond 'resolutely' to North Korea
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday called for the U.S. to respond "resolutely" to North Korea's nuclear test.  

“Today's reported nuclear test by North Korea is yet another indication of North Korea’s determination to continue to defy the international community and the threat it poses to regional peace and stability," said Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress should think twice on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Don’t let Congress amend the First Amendment Federal anti-BDS legislation – Common sense and constitutional MORE (D-Md.).

“In response, I strongly believe that the United States and our partners in the international community must respond resolutely," said Cardin, who is also the ranking member of the subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy. 

Cardin said he will work with others in the Senate on legislation to impose additional sanctions on North Korea and also urged the United Nations Security Council to impose additional sanctions. 

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezLawmakers target horse meat trade Senators, staff get approval to testify in Menendez corruption trial Trump admin not opposed to new war authorization MORE (D-N.J.), a senior member of the panel, echoed those calls, saying that North Korea's nuclear detonation claims "must be met with firm action and a clear effort to halt Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions." 

North Korea announced Wednesday morning it conducted a successful test of a hydrogen bomb, which would violate Security Council resolutions. 

"If there's no invasion on our sovereignty we will not use nuclear weapon," North Korea’s state news agency said, according to CNN. "This H-bomb test brings us to a higher level of nuclear power." 

So far, U.S. officials and lawmakers say they are monitoring and continuing to assess the situation in close coordination with regional partners. 

State Department spokesman John Kirby late Tuesday said the U.S. could not immediately confirm North Korea's test claims but called on Pyongyang to abide by its international obligations and commitments.

"We have consistently made clear that we will not accept it as a nuclear state," he said. "We will continue to protect and defend our allies in the region, including the Republic of Korea, and will respond appropriately to any and all North Korean provocations." 

Meanwhile, Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP chairman to discuss Charlottesville as domestic terrorism at hearing Trump’s isolation grows GOP lawmaker: Trump 'failing' in Charlottesville response MORE (R-Wis.) said that while all the facts aren't known yet, "this looks like a provocation."  

"We have to have a well-honed response with our allies on this world regime," he said.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Wednesday that if North Korea indeed detonated a nuclear device, it would be a "grave breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a provocation which I condemn without reservation."

"We will be working with other U.N. Security Council members to ensure the international community responds urgently and decisively to this latest activity."

Hammond, who is currently in Beijing, said he and his Chinese counterpart have agreed to work with other members of the U.N. Security Council "towards a robust international response."