Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea Tests Nuke

A Senior U.S. Official confirmed with Fox News that North Korea successfully tested a nuclear weapon Sunday night.

U.S. officials told FOX News' Bret Baier that they were warned by allies in advance of the test. China reportedly received a 20-minute heads up and immediately notified officials in the U.S., Japan and South Korea.

The test is North Korea's first-ever detonation of an atomic device, but the nation as long claimed to have nuclear capabilities.

Both the U.S., South Korea and Australia detected seismic disturbances at 10:35 EDT. John Bolton is expected to call for an emergency meeting with the U.N. National Security Council.

Bush administration officials say they will push for an "extremely strong U.N. resolution against North Korea that would make it illegal to transfer missile and missile-related items, materials, goods and technology for North Korean weapons of mass destruction programs."

U.S. officials say the White House will seek "much stronger punitive measures" on general trade with North Korea, although they do not believe the country's oil supplies will be targeted.

The test sparked condemnation from regional powers who said that, if confirmed, would be a serious threat to regional stability.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said the underground test was performed successfully "with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent," and that no radiation leaked from that test site.

"It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the (Korean People's Army) and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability," KCNA said. "It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it."

Japan's top government spokesman said a reported North Korean test would post a serious threat to the stability in the region and a provocation.

China, the North's closest ally, said Beijing "resolutely opposes" the North Korean nuclear test and hopes Pyongyang will return to disarmament talks.

U.S. and South Korean officials could not immediately confirm that an actual test had occurred.

The U.N. Security Council was expected to discuss the reported North Korean test Monday, and the United States and Japan are likely to press for a resolution imposing additional sanctions on Pyongyang. The council last week issued a statement condemning plans for a test.

A resolution adopted in July after a series of North Korean missile launches imposed limited sanctions on North Korea and demanded the country rejoin international nuclear talks -- a demand the North immediately rejected.

Also, South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon was expected later Monday to be nominated as the next secretary-general of the United Nations by the Security Council. Ban has said he would use the post, which he would assume after Kofi Annan's term expires at the end of the year, to press for a resolution of the North Korean nuclear standoff.

Now we have fine kettle of fish. North Korea testing nukes, Iran developing nukes, Castro dying, and Chavez close on all their heels like a servile cur.

The U.N.'s history has not been one to encourage confidence. This crisis will bear close watch. I'm not holding my breath for any great resolution. Peggy Noonan was right: the temperature of the world is too high.