TODAY   |  February 12, 2013

North Korea confirms nuclear test

Early readings of North Korea’s nuclear test Monday show it was three to six times more powerful than any tests from that country before. President Obama is calling it “a highly provocative act.” NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> nuclear test overnight from a defiant north korea . nbc's jim miklaszewski is at the pentagon this morning. mick, what can you tell us?

>> nobody was surprised by the test itself. they knew it was coming. no one knew the exact timing. this one, in fact, has set off alarm bells. early readings are that this nuclear device that was tested may be three to six times more powerful than any previous nuclear test by the north koreans . the north koreans also claim that they did it with a much smaller device, perhaps meaning that they have made progress in miniaturizing nuclear weapons that could be put on the top of ballistic missiles that could ultimately threaten the united states . nobody is confirming that yet but it's got everybody's attention. now today's test drew a rapid and strong response from the white house . the president condemned the blast, saying it threatens u.s. security and that the danger posed by north korea 's threatening activities warrants further, swift and credible action by the international community . the united states will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies. now, the u.n. security council in new york has called an emergency session to discuss ratcheting up sanctions against north korea , but the reality is that north korea is pretty much sanctioned out already. unless china steps up and agrees to impose strict sanctions against north korea , it appears that they will continue on this course to develop nuclear weapons . and this test today, following the test of a ballistic missile last december should put to rest any claims or hopes that the current 29-year-old north korean leader kim jong un is any different from his father, kim jong il . there's a difference in styles but kim jong un seems just as intent on creating a nuclear weapon that will put north korea in a powerful position as a nuclear threat in that region.

>> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon for us this morning. jim,