Monday, October 09, 2006




North Korea has conducted its first test of a nuclear weapon, a test it claims was "successful" and "safe".

Most world leaders expressed outrage and dismay, as expected.

It's one of the biggest stories of the year, and one of the biggest of this Fourth World War, not only because the test finally confirms that North Korea now truly does have nuclear weapons, but also because of the way the test has immediately altered the alliances of South and East Asia.

One of the first, and most immediate, fallout effects that North Korea may not have been counting on is that Japan is now siding with China and South Korea, an unofficial 'alliance' that North Korea's Kim Jong-Il could not have seen coming, expecting as he would have that China would have continued to back North Korea. But China has condemned the tests, unreservedly, as has Russia, and neither statements from the nuclear-nations appear to be just cover.

North Korea now joins the United States, Israel, the UK, France, China, Pakistan, India and Russia as a nuclear armed power. And they may be preparing a second test.

But little is known about the number of nuclear bombs North Korea possesses, and in particular if they are able to attach the warheads to intercontinental missiles, bringing US-backed countries like Australia and Japan into their line of fire.

Although the outrage being heard around the world today is loud and united, there seems to be little the US, or the UK, or Russia and China can do outside of invasion or nuking what they can now determine to be North Korea's nuclear facilities.

More embargoes and sanctions are unlikely to hurt the regime, and will only starve and disable the population of North Korea further.

It is an interesting quandry for the world powers, particularly Australia, the UK and the US, who have all stated clearly, at various times, "We cannot live with a nuclear armed North Korea".

North Korea is now armed with what experts believe may be as few as two or three weapons. So what is the world going to do about it?

Australian and American politicians are pointing at the UN, saying this is the time for the UN and the Security Council to prove its worth. That may also be a convenient way for Australia and the US to hold the UN to account, and take attention off themselves, as they are unlikely to take any military action against North Korea on their own, or together, outside of possible unnofficial special operations entries and sabotage attempts.

Here's some of the world reaction and the more interesting news and opinions (clink the links, as usual, for the full story) :

Japan Deploys Military Jets To Assess Radiation Levels Over Sea Of Japan

A BBC 'Factfile' On Underground Nuclear Testing

The Reaction From World Leaders

Russian Defence Minister Says NK Bomb Could Have Been As Big As Hiroshima's - Russia Warned Two Hours Before Test

NK's 'Unofficial' Spokesman Claims Next Korean War Will Be With The US - Major Cities Will Be "Transformed Into Towering Infernos

Bush Talks To Russia, China, Japan, Says UN Security Council Will Make "An Immediate Response" But Condemnation And Talk Of Sanctions First Business

Pyongyang's 60 Year Long Obsession With Gaining Nuclear Weapons

'Landscape Of Alliances' Altered In East Asia As Nuke Tests Force Japan Into Siding With China and South Korea