Statement by CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth on the seismic event detected in North Korea as a response to media questions

Vienna, 12 February 2013

“Today our monitoring stations picked up evidence of an unusual seismic event in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The event shows explosion-like characteristics and its location is roughly congruent with the 2006 and 2009 DPRK nuclear tests. For now, further data and analysis are necessary to establish what kind of event this is. If confirmed as a nuclear test, this act would constitute a clear threat to international peace and security, and challenges efforts made to strengthen global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, in particular by ending nuclear testing.”


Background:

A total of 183 States, the vast majority of the international community, have signed the CTBT, underscoring their support for a definitive ban on nuclear explosions. Of these, 159 countries have also ratified the Treaty. To enter into force, however, the CTBT must be signed and ratified by 44 specific States. These States participated in the negotiations of the Treaty in 1996 and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at the time. Thirty-six of these States have ratified the Treaty, including the three nuclear weapon States - France, Russia and the United Kingdom. Of the eight remaining States, China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed the Treaty, whereas the DPRK, India and Pakistan have not yet signed it.

A verification regime is being built to monitor compliance with the Treaty. Over 85 percent of the 337 facilities in the International Monitoring System are already in place, see interactive map. The Member States are provided with data collected by the monitoring stations, as well as data analyses prepared by the International Data Centre in Vienna, Austria. Once the Treaty has entered into force, an on-site inspection can be invoked in case of a suspicious event.

The North Korean nuclear tests on 9 October 2006 and 25 May 2009 were detected immediately by the CTBTO’s monitoring stations.

For further information on the CTBT, please see www.ctbto.org – your resource on ending nuclear testing,
or contact:

Annika Thunborg,
Spokesperson and Chief, Public Information

T    +43 1 26030-6375 
E    annika.thunborgping@ctbtopong.org
M    +43 699 1459 6375      
I    www.ctbto.org

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