2006 October 08 Sunday
North Korea Explodes Test Nuclear Weapon

North Korea has followed through on their recent threat to carry out an underground nuclear weapons test.

The Korean Central News Agency said the test was successful and there had been no radioactive leakage from the site.

The underground test was reportedly conducted on Monday morning in Hwaderi near Kilju city.

South Korea's intelligence agency detected a 3.58-magnitude seismic tremor, the country's foreign ministry said.

TV analysts are quoting Bush Administration officials who believe the test claim.

Will China block UN sanctions against North Korea? Will China vote for sanctions but then continue to send fuel and other supplies to North Korea?

One TV reporter says US and South Korean military officers think the North Koreans have 3 to 5 tunnels under the border which the South Koreans have been unable to find. So the North Koreans might be able to deliver a nuclear weapon into Seoul without a missile to carry it.

Will the South Koreans change their own policies toward North Korea? Will they cut back on trade and aid?

I think attempts to stop nuclear proliferation are doomed to failure. Until nuclear weapons are used again to kill people I do not expect sufficient will to exist in the world to stop nuclear weapons proliferation. Since I think the odds are low that I'll get killed whenever nuclear weapons get used again I've decided to be fairly relaxed about the prospect of nuclear proliferation. If Chinese and European people don't want to strongly oppose nuclear proliferation then we just have to protect ourselves and wait for changes in world attitudes.

The US Geological Survey now reports they measured a 4.2 magnitude tremor in North Korea.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 October 08 09:12 PM  US Foreign Weapons Proliferation Control

Stephen said at October 8, 2006 11:47 PM:

If its true, this is going to be really interesting.

I'm unbelievable surprised that China let them get that far. I can understand how China would be happy to keep a weird but reasonably insular regime in power in NK to act as a buffer between China and the US forces in South Korea. But for the life of me I can't see any motive for China to let NK have nukes - after all, NK was a client state of China, but with nukes they'll drive much harder bargains. I suspect someone in China's intelligence bureau is going to get their arse kicked.

Ned said at October 9, 2006 5:00 AM:

I think China's options here may be more limited than suspected by some. Clearly the PRC has the capability of yanking North Korea's chain good and hard (e.g., sealing the border, cutting off food and fuel supplies, etc.). But these measures would probably lead to the collapse of the shaky North Korea regime, resulting in eventual reunification under South Korean leadership. And voila! - another potential enemy on China's borders. On the other hand, if the PRC does nothing, South Korea is likely to acquire nuclear weapons fairly quickly (a la Pakistan - India). And Japan may reconsider its traditional pacificism and remilitarize with nukes. The PRC would no doubt be thrilled at these developments. This brings to mind the movie "The Hunt for Red October." Fred Thompson is playing the admiral of the USS Enterprise carrier battle group in the North Atlantic. They are facing an escalating confrontation with the Soviets that neither side really wanted to happen. As things worsen, Fred turns to Alec Baldwin and quips the classic line, "This thing is going to get completely out of hand." Stay tuned....

Wolf-Dog said at October 9, 2006 12:52 PM:

According to some articles, North Korea is suspected of shipping missile components to Iran and other countries, by air, using the airspace of Russia, with the help of Russian cargo planes. This means that it may be impossible to intercept the shipment of North Korean nuclear components to Axis of Evil countries.

lexcen said at October 9, 2006 2:15 PM:

Why the outrage? Why the surprise and horror? As far as I can see, the mentality that drives the North Koreans to want Nuclear Weapons is the same mentality that drives individuals to want to own guns. The argument goes something like this, "I want to defend myself, I don't feel safe unless I have a gun/nuclear bomb. I don't intend or need to use it, just the threat of having it will deter anyone from attacking me."

Wolf-Dog said at October 10, 2006 10:20 PM:

It is speculated in the media that the North Korean underground test was flawed, and that the bomb failed to detonate efficiently. It merely fizzled, in comparison to how powerful the explosion could have been.

Apparently, instead of using Uranium 235, North Korea extracted plutonium from spent fuel rods, because enriching uranium to very high concentrations ( 80 % or more for bomb grade)is very difficult, while extracting the plutonium from nuclear waste, is easy (once a primitive reactor is built.) However, as a tradeoff, building a plutonium bomb is very difficult in comparison to building an uranium bomb. The plutonium bomb is usually the spherical implosion type, but this requires very high precision craftsmanship and also very accurately built components, because if the spherical implosion is not structured and timed perfectly, then the bomb will not explode, it will only fizzle. The uranium bomb, on the other hand, is very easy to build, since it is usually the "cannon" shaped design, where two large chunks of uranium are pushed against each other. Accuracy is not very important in the latter case.

Loftus said at October 11, 2006 5:57 PM:

North Korea is administered much like a university Women's Studies Department--strictly for indoctrination purposes. If the scientist is brilliant but not doctrinally pure, he gets killed. Kim's government favors indoctrination over success. That's why it fails, or fizzles.

Jana Shearer said at October 12, 2006 1:48 AM:

Why be surprised at China? They are communists who even more brutal with more power than Korea. They have plan. It has been discovered here in Australia that the Chinese Govt had offered 50 million dollars to a weapons scientist here who invented a weapon called metal storm . Thank Goodness the scientist declined the offer and informed the Australian Government of the insistence of the CCP. The only advice our collaborative Govt gave was how to dissuade the talks and ensure personal safety. The scientist is now asking the USA for help. We have a Govt here who kowtows to the CCP for trade. Mr Howard has a gold gilded framed picture of Jiang Jemin in his personal lounge at his home.

People need to wake up that there are many entrapped Governments and individuals who are going along with what the CCP want t for the world.

Thatís not to say there arenít many good people actively working to get the CCP out of power. But we westerners have to get our heads out of the sand so to speak and really understand why the CCP has been accepted into democratic organisations like the World Trade Org, the United Nations Council , World Health Org, and the Olympic Games when it is clearly nota democratic country??

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