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October 8, 2006

Breaking: North Korea conducts first-ever nuclear test


The test occurred at 9:36 p.m. EDT Sunday night (10:36 a.m. local time on Monday - although the U.S. Geological Survey said it hasn't detected any seismic activity on the Korean peninsula in the past 48 hours).
ABC just announced it over the air, and the AP is reporting:
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea said Monday it has performed its first-ever nuclear weapons test. The country's official Korean Central News Agency said the test was performed successfully and there was no radioactive leakage from the site.
Only hours before, The Australian said that "North Korea risks total isolation," and indeed, North Korea has done exactly that.

Although the U.S. Geological Survey said it hasn't detected any seismic activity on the Korean peninsula in the past 48 hours, South Korean intelligence officials said a seismic wave of magnitude-3.58 had been detected in North Hamkyung province, according to Yonhap. It said the test was conducted at 10:36 a.m. (9:36 p.m. EDT Sunday) in Hwaderi near Kilju city on the northeast coast, citing defense officials.

Aaron Friedberg writes at smh.com.au that a lack of resolve now, may have effects worse than can be imagined:

For Kim, a nuclear blast would be a personal triumph, the crowning glory of a 20-year nuclear program that puts him at last on an equal footing with his father. Success will boost the "Dear Leader's" confidence in his own strategic genius, while putting him in a better position to deter external threats and to command the continued loyalty of his subordinates. It may also convince him that he is freer to indulge his propensity for taking risks and his habit of extorting food, fuel and cash from his neighbours.

Instead of making Kim secure, and hence easier to deal with, nuclear weapons could make him more dangerous. The aftershocks of a nuclear test will reverberate in South Korea and could shake its society, economy and political system to their foundations.

This, not to mention the complications involve with the Iranian pursuit of atomic weapons. Continue reading ...

Posted by Richard at October 8, 2006 11:59 PM

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