North Korea’s recent nuclear test, as well as its subsequent test firing of two missiles, represents a grave threat to peace and stability in the region, the fight to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world and, more generally, the fight for peace and social progress.

We condemn these reckless and provocative acts.

North Korea has claimed that it has been the victim of imperialist aggression, specifically from the United States. The United States has refused to sign a peace treaty with North Korea, has hedged on agreements made in the six-party talks aimed at solving the nuclear issue, and, over the decades, worked to isolate North Korea.

And it was the U.S. that fought in the war which divided the country into two — a war that has never officially ended. The border between North and South Korea is one of the most militarized in the world.

Nonetheless, building nuclear weapons, which endanger the very existence of humanity itself, can never be justified.

Recent changes in the world make the test all the more irresponsible. Today, Barack Obama is the U.S. president and as such pledged to reduce nuclear arsenals, to sign a treaty that would ban all nations, including the U.S. itself, from any nuclear tests. Unprecedented vows from any U.S. president, and one that has been welcomed around the world.

The current fight for progressive forces is to make sure that such a nuclear policy is implemented. North Korea’s tests do exactly the opposite. They play into the hands of those in the U.S. who want to derail the Obama presidency, as well as into the hands of those in Japan who would like to destroy the nation’s “peace constitution” and turn Japan itself into an aggressive power.

The North Korean news agency said, “The test will contribute to defending the sovereignty of the country and the nation and socialism and ensuring peace and security on the Korean peninsula and the region.’ However the world sees it differently, including North Korea’s socialist neighbors, China and Vietnam, which have condemned the tests.