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South Korean president-elect Park Geun-Hye condemned North Korea's nuclear test Tuesday and said her incoming administration would not tolerate a nuclear-armed regime in Pyongyang.
"I strongly condemn North Korea's third nuclear test that was carried out in spite of strong warnings from us and the international community," Park said in a statement.
"North Korea must realise that it has nothing to gain from provocations," she said, adding that a nuclear-armed North Korea was unacceptable "under any circumstances".
Park, who takes office on February 25, had campaigned on a promise of greater engagement with Pyongyang.
But analysts say the North's rocket launch in December followed by Tuesday's nuclear test is likely to energise hawks in her ruling conservative party opposed to any compromise.
In Tuesday's statement, Park said her new administration would employ "strong deterrence" and strengthen cooperation with the international community to denuclearise the North.
She also stressed that her vision of a "Korean Peninsula trust process" could only be realised with cooperation from Pyongyang.
"As the saying goes, hands must meet in order to make noise. Only when North Korea demonstrates sincere and serious attitude and actions can we pursue (the process) together," she said.