Hillary: N. Korea Nuke Test a 'Reminder' That Next President Can't Be 'Reckless, Imprudent'

(AP Images)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the reaction to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test should be to “increase pressure and send Pyongyang an unmistakable message that its nuclear brinksmanship won’t succeed.”

North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Clinton was at the helm of the State Department from January 2009 to February 2013. North Korea pulled out of the six-party talks aimed at stopping their nuclear weapons program in April 2009, soon after President Obama came to office.

North Korea was pulled from the state sponsors of terror list in 2008 by President Bush. Despite pressure from some lawmakers to put the country back on the list, the Obama administration hasn’t done so.

Clinton released a statement today saying she “strongly” condemns North Korea’s “apparent nuclear test.”

“If verified, this is a provocative and dangerous act, and North Korea must have no doubt that we will take whatever steps are necessary to defend ourselves and our treaty allies, South Korea and Japan,” she said. “North Korea’s goal is to blackmail the world into easing the pressure on its rogue regime. We can’t give in to or in any way encourage this kind of bullying.”

Clinton called for the United States and the UN Security Council to “immediately” impose additional sanctions against NorthKorea.

“The Chinese government, which wields influence with the North Koreans, must be more assertive in deterring the North’s irresponsible actions, and it should take actions to halt prohibited activities transpiring across its borders or its firms that participate in illicit trade or proliferation will have to face sanctions. We should also work with our work with our allies to strengthen our missile defenses,” she continued.

“As Secretary I championed the United States’ pivot to the Asia Pacific – including shifting additional military assets to the theater – in part to confront threats like North Korea and to support our allies. I worked to get not just our allies but also Russia and China on board for the strongest sanctions yet.”

The Obama administration announced additional limited sanctions in October, but they were panned by congressional critics as not enough. In response, Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced tougher sanctions legislation.

Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he’ll work with members “to bring further pressure to bear on the brutal regime in Pyongyang.”

“The past several decades of U.S. policy toward North Korea has been an abject failure, and the United States—together with our allies and others in the region—must take a more assertive role in addressing North Korea’s provocation,” Corker said.

There’s also sanctions legislation from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who said North Korea needs to know it “will find neither security nor acceptance until it ceases its provocative behavior, ends its nuclear-weapons program, and no longer engages in activities that threaten American interests, those of our allies and partners, or global peace and stability.”

Meanwhile, Clinton turned the crisis back to the campaign trail.

“Threats like this are yet another reminder of what’s at stake in this election,” she said. “We cannot afford reckless, imprudent publicity stunts that risk war. We need a commander in chief with the experience and judgement to deal with a dangerous North Korea on Day One.”