Sabre Rattling in North Korea

It is a dangerous game being played these days in North Korea and the risk for a stable East Asia is once again imminent. Clearly, as also noted in the articles pasted below the UN Security Council must now try to stand united and come up with that reponse they have been promising to deliever.

(From the FT - bold parts are my emphasis) 

North Korea on Monday morning said it had conducted a nuclear test - a highly provocative action that sparked outrage around the world and dramatically changed the security situation in north-east Asia.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that the test was performed and that there had been no radioactive leakage from the site.

“The nuclear test is a historic event that brought happiness to the our military and people,” KCNA said.

The US said it had detected a “seismic event”

George W. Bush, US president, said the nuclear test claim represented “a threat to international peace and security” and called for an immediate response from the United Nations Security Council.

“Once again, North Korea has defied the will of the international community and the international   community will respond,” said Mr Bush.


South Korean government officials convened an emergency meeting on Monday morning, just as Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Seoul for a summit with his counterpart Roh Moo-hyun.

“President Roh Moo-hyun called in an emergency meeting of related ministers on Monday to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue,” said Choo Kyu-ho, the foreign ministry spokesman. “The meeting comes as there has been a grave change in the situation involving the North’s nuclear activity.”

China also issued a strongly worded statement calling N Korea’s test a ‘flagrant’ disregard of international opinion.

South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index nosedived on news of the test, prompting the Korea Exchange to suspend trading for five minutes to allow investors to digest the news, before closing 2.41 per cent lower at 1319.4.

Reuters news agency reported that North Korea gave China 20 minutes notice of the test.


The UN Security Council on Friday agreed on a unanimous statement warning North Korea to refrain from testing a nuclear weapon, or else face unspecified consequences.

Should North Korea ignore the UN’s calls, the draft statement said, “the Security Council will act consistent with its responsibility under the charter of the United Nations”, in deliberately vague language but which could lead to sanctions or other measures.

According to the draft UN statement, “the Security Council deems that should the DPRK (North Korea) carry out its threat of a nuclear weapon test, it would jeopardize peace, stability and security in the region and beyond.”

And from The Economist ... (walled for non-subscribers)

Following through on a promise it made in the United Nations only last week, North Korea exploded a nuclear device on Monday October 9th deep under a mountain in north-eastern Hamgyong province. The regime of Kim Jong Il immediately declared that its nuclear test would serve to defend “the peace and stability on the Korean pensinsula and in the area around it.” On the contrary, the provocation has brought international condemnation and destabilised regional security, even raising the prospect of an arms race in which neighbours such as Japan and South Korea may consider developing nuclear weapons of their own.


The action will now move to the UN Security Council. Australia has already said it will advocate tougher UN sanctions against North Korea, blocking North Korean funds and limiting the ability of North Koreans to travel. America will certainly push for the tougher policing of ships and planes that might be carrying weapons technology. More efforts will be made to go after Mr Kim’s own business empire, known as Division 39, that is crucial to the dictator for keeping the North Korean regime sweet. Countries with diplomatic relations may withdraw ambassadors. Already, the international attitude towards Mr Kim is turning from half-hearted engagement to what is already being called “malign neglect”'