NORTH KOREA’S DANGEROUS TANTRUM…. After a provocative missile test in April, North Korea was rebuked by the U.N. Security Council. The country soon after threatened a nuclear test unless the Security Council apologized for being mean to North Korea.

Two weeks ago, the country was clearly moving towards its second nuclear test in three years, and this morning, that’s precisely what North Korea did.

North Korea announced on Monday that it had successfully conducted its second nuclear test, defying international warnings and dramatically raising the stakes in a global effort to persuade the recalcitrant Communist state to give up its weapons program.

The North’s official news agency, KCNA, said, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defense in every way as requested by its scientists and technicians.”

The test was safely conducted “on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology of its control,” the agency said. “The results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology.” […]

Hours after the test was reported, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, quoting an unidentified intelligence source in Seoul, said the North had test-fired two more short-range, surface-to-air missiles after earlier test-firing a similar projectile. The three missiles were launched towards the sea between North Korea and Japan and had a range of 80 miles, according to the news agency. They were fired from a base not far from the nuclear test site in northeast North Korea, Yonhap said.

The White House issued a statement this morning, noting that while North Korea’s nuclear test isn’t a surprise, the country’s actions “are a matter of grave concern to all nations” and “a threat to international peace and security.”

“By acting in blatant defiance of the United Nations Security Council, North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community,” President Obama said in the statement. “North Korea’s behavior increases tensions and undermines stability in Northeast Asia. Such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea’s isolation. It will not find international acceptance unless it abandons its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.”

Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. indicated that the U.N. Security Council would likely hold an emergency meeting today.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.