Canada is condemning North Korea for what Pyongyang says was its first test of a hydrogen bomb.

"We unequivocally condemn the behaviour of North Korea, which today claimed to have detonated a nuclear weapon," Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said in a statement Wednesday.

North Korea's alleged test, which it calls a "giant stride," and an "eye-catching miracle," has been met with widespread international skepticism.

But the development has ratcheted up tension between the impoverished pariah state and the rest of the world, and could lead to more sanctions.

North Korea earthquake

North Korea experienced a 5.1 magnitude seismic event after allegedly testing a hydrogen bomb at 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday. (Canadian Press)

"North Korea's continued violations of its international obligations pose a grave threat to international peace and security, and particularly to the stability of the region," Dion said.

"Any nuclear testing by North Korea would be an illegal and provocative action. If confirmed, this action would be not only a violation of the clear international norm against nuclear testing but a direct breach of unanimous United Nations Security Council resolutions."

Dion also used Twitter to express Canada's outrage about the news out of North Korea, accusing the country of reckless behaviour.

Tony Clement, the Conservative critic for foreign affairs, echoed Dion's remarks urging the hermit kingdom – as it is sometimes called – to abandon its nuclear program once and for all. 

"I encourage the government of Canada to stand alongside our allies in condemning North Korea's continued dangerous provocations and violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

"The regime in Pyongyang continues to be a threat to world peace, and its self-imposed isolation from the rest of the world only serves to further oppress its own citizens," Clement said.

The Tories are also pushing for the release of a Canadian — Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim — who remains imprisoned in a North Korean jail.

Lim, a Presbyterian minister from Mississauga, Ont., was charged with several offences, including harming the dignity of North Korea's supreme leadership and trying to use religion to destroy their system.

With files from the Canadian Press