North Korea Goes Nuclear!

By Liam Bailey

October 9 2006 became the day threatening talk turned into drastic action when North Korea announced: “The field of scientific research in the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on October 9, 2006, at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great, prosperous, powerful socialist nation.” Adding: “It has been confirmed that there was no such danger as radioactive emission in the course of the nuclear test as it was carried out under scientific consideration and careful calculation.” and: “It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA (Korean Peoples Army) and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defence capability.”

Although Japan is yet to independently confirm the nuclear test, South Korea has reported a Seismic tremor of 3.58 on the Richter scale believed to have been caused by the explosion, this was confirmed by the USGS (United States Geological survey), who reported a Seismic event 4.2 on the Richter scale in North Korea at approximately ground level. China, perhaps N Korea’s closest ally has confirmed the nuclear test in its open condemnation of what they called a “brazen” nuclear test. The Australian PM has also announced Seismic confirmation of the test although he didn’t state which country the data had come from.

Although this is worrying for all countries in the world and especially all countries in the immediate vicinity, currently N Korea don’t have the capabilities to launch their nuclear weapons, their recent test firing of a long-range missile was a dramatic failure. According to Russian military experts in a recent interview in the daily Telegraph the N Korean nuclear bomb is 10ft long and weighs some 4 tons making it too large to fit on any missile currently in Kim Jong Il’s arsenal. However, according to the same experts the N Korea nuclear bomb is a 20 Kiloton yield, the same as the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan during World War 2 and would kill everything within a 5-mile square; or somewhere in the region of 200,000 people if detonated in a populated area such as Tokyo or Seoul.

Despite N Korea’s apparent inability to currently launch their newly tested weapon, the consequences of the test could be dire for N Korea and surrounding neighbours, Japan’s conservative Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported before the test that if N Korea were to conduct its test above ground radioactive fallout — known as the ‘ash of death’ — would fly to the northern half of Japan, parts of South Korea and Russia and a vast eastern area of China within 54 hours. If the S Korean report, quoting intelligence officials is true and the North Korean nuclear test was conducted in a horizontal tunnel, dug into a 360 metre (1200 feet) mountain northwest of the Musudanri missile base in Hwadaeri the possibility of such dire consequences becomes even more real. Although there have been no reports of radioactive fallout thus far, it is still far too early to be certain what the consequences might be.

If radioactive fallout does occur it will almost certainly increase the political fallout surrounding the N Korea test as worst affected after N Korea would be allies of the communist state, Russia, China and S Korea, who has recently adopted a more conciliatory tone toward its neighbour and long running enemy. Along with rival Japan, who have recently began attempts to repair relations with China, their leaders Shinzo Abe and Hu Jintao gave a joint warning to Kim Jong Il before the test yesterday, therein tightening the diplomatic noose around Kim Jong Il’s neck in the event of any repercussions surrounding the nuclear test. Shinzo Abe arriving in South Korea the day of the test prompting reports that Kim Jong Il’s actions were timed to coincide with the diplomatic envoy.

Ash of death or not the political fallout from Kim Jong Il’s sudden, drastic action will reverberate around the EU, U.S and Asia, I’m sure for days and weeks if not months ahead. China wield the biggest power over Kim Jong Il on their role of provider for the badly impoverished country since U.S led economic sanctions began to take hold. The question is will Bush stay on the path of diplomacy and in accordance with the UN or alone impose further economic sanctions, affecting worst the already impoverished population of N Korea, and therefore continue the precedent of military inaction against newly nuclear hostile states, set by India and Pakistan. Or will Bush again seek to override the UN and take some kind of drastic military action against the “rogue state”. Recent U.S rhetoric like “not living with a nuclear armed N Korea” alongside their recent unwillingness to abandon diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear programme, despite Tehrans outright defiance of the UN’s six party coalition, throw Bush’s previous unpredictability into the mix and its anyone’s guess.

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3 Comments

  1. November 2, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    […] The months between Iran ignoring U.N. Resolution 1696 and North Korea’s nuclear test brought many statements from senior Iranians. Many speaking on condition of anonymity threatened tough retaliation against any imposed sanctions. The latest announcement, on Oct. 23, that Iran had launched a second batch of 164 centrifuges, bringing the total to 328 interconnected centrifuges, which can enrich uranium for energy or weaponry purposes, further exasperated the Bush administration. […]

  2. November 2, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    […] The months between Iran ignoring U.N. Resolution 1696 and North Korea’s nuclear test brought many statements from senior Iranians. Many speaking on condition of anonymity threatened tough retaliation against any imposed sanctions. The latest announcement, on Oct. 23, that Iran had launched a second batch of 164 centrifuges, bringing the total to 328 interconnected centrifuges, which can enrich uranium for energy or weaponry purposes, further exasperated the Bush administration. […]

  3. War Pages said,

    November 9, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    […] North Korea Goes Nuclear! […]


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