North Korean nuclear test condemned by countries around the world - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 12 February

Scientists in the secretive single-party state of North Korea have carried out their third nuclear test, prompting alarm among other nations around the world.


North Korean nuclear test condemned by countries around the world

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 12 February


By Kerra Maddern

Scientists in the secretive single-party state of North Korea have carried out their third nuclear test, prompting alarm among other nations around the world.

It is thought the explosion was bigger than the previous tests, staged in 2006 and 2009, and is the first under the regime of leader Kim Jong-un, who came to power in 2011.

Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations (UN), the international organisation that attempts to bring all governments together and promote peace, said he was “gravely concerned” by the test. US president Barack Obama labelled it a “highly provocative act”.

UK foreign secretary William Hague, a senior member of the British government, said he “strongly condemned” the test, which is a violation of UN resolutions designed to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.

“North Korea’s development of its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities poses a threat to international and regional security. Its repeated provocations only serve to increase regional tension, and hinder the prospects for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr Hague said.

The UN Security Council, a committee of national representatives, gathered in New York City for urgent talks following the tests.

North Korea has been governed by members of the Kim family since the aftermath of the Second World War and has become increasingly secretive, inward-looking and poverty-stricken.

Economic sanctions, rules that limit trade with any other country, have already been introduced for North Korea because of the country’s flouting of a ban on the testing of missile technology.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the ongoing development of nuclear weapons was designed to “defend the country's security and sovereignty in the face of the ferocious hostile act of the US”. The US has “wantonly violated” the country’s “legitimate right to launch satellite for peaceful purposes”, the KCNA said.

The KCNA added that the test “was conducted in a safe and perfect way on a high level with the use of a smaller and light A-bomb unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power”.

However, Ban Ki-moon of the UN said it was “deplorable” that North Korea had “defied the strong and unequivocal call from the international community to refrain from any further provocative measures”.



Questions for your class


  • What is the purpose of the UN? How could you find out more about what this organisation does?
  • Some people believe that weapons are important for self defence. What are the arguments for and against this view?
  • Who should decide whether or not a country can possess nuclear weapons? What criteria should be considered?
  • What would you do if you had to settle a conflict between friends? How would you try to keep the peace?

Related resources


Korean War: Overview

  • PowerPoint that looks at overview of the war and using clips and worksheets to give pupils idea of causes and main events – and the background to the division of North and South Korea.

The Bomb Factor

  • Explore the nuclear weapons debate in the style of The X Factor with this great activity from Peace Education.

Timeline of a nuclear explosion

  • An active learning activity to explore the effects of a nuclear explosion, also from Peace Education.

North and South Korea

  • Take a look at this bsntube video examining North and South Korea.


Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week


The world has been shocked by the surprise announcement this morning that Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month.

Nearly a quarter of sub-Saharan African children still do not have access to the most basic schooling, despite efforts over the past decade by world leaders to make sure that all children receive at least some education.

Members of the British Parliament have been debating whether to allow same-sex marriages in England and Wales.

It's official. The skeleton under a car park in Leicester, England, is indeed that of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England.



In the news archive index