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Nuclear test likely to turn tough for North Korea

North Korea's maverick dictator goes ahead and has a nuclear test; sanctions in the offing.

October 10, 2006

The world is currently in frenzy. As North Korea announced the successful conclusion of its first nuclear test, tension around the country was set for a spill over. A wave of international condemnation from old enemies and traditional allies alike followed suit.

The controlled explosion at Hwaderi, near the north-eastern city of Kilju, sent shockwaves which were recorded across the world. The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the explosion at a 4.2 seismic event. No radioactive leakage from the underground site, which is around 2 kilometers down the shaft of an abandoned coalmine, has been reported, making it a successful blast.

Meanwhile, Washington termed the nuclear test as a provocative act of Pyongyang that defies the will of the international community. A White House spokesperson said that the US expects the UN Security Council to take immediate actions to respond to Pyongyang’s act.

With North Korea conducting the nuke test, it has become the eighth member of the nuclear club, though many might be loath to call it so. While British Prime Minster Tony Blair said that North Korea's N-test was irresponsible; his foreign office warned the nation of international repercussions.

China, a traditional ally of North Korea, also reacted furiously, calling the test as a flagrant and brazen violation of international opinion. North Korea's neighbour whcih is technically still at war with it - South Korea - threatened to respond sternly to the provocation. It is also rumoured now in diplomatic circles that South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun may come under pressure to drop the "sunshine policy" of engagement with North Korea. Roh Moo-hyun also convened a meeting of security advisers over the issue and intelligence over the test has been exchanged between concerned countries. India too joined the world in deploring North Korea's nuclear test in defiance of the international community, saying the action was provocative, completely irresponsible and highlighted the dangers of clandestine proliferation.

North Korea, now, has pushed itself toward sanctions. The official Korean Central News Agency said that the nuclear test was a historic event that brought happiness to the military and people of North Korea. "The nuclear test will contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and surrounding region,” it added. While the leadership seemed to be comfortable by opting for military security without heeding to the international advice against the nuclear test it remains to be seen how harsh the international community, particularly the US, gets on Pyongyang.




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