North Korea tests NukeMay 25th, 2009 - 2:50 pm ICT by John Le Fevre
The South Korean government has called an emergency meeting of its cabinet in response to a nuclear weapons test by neighboring North Korea.
The Japanese government has also established a crisis task force following the test, which the US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded at 9.54am (local time) this morning.
The USGS said it detected a magnitude 4.7 tremor 375 kilometres north-east of Pyongyang, at a depth of 10 kilometres,
Two hours after the explosion was detected North Korea state media confirmed the Stalinist country had successfully conducted a nuclear weapons test, “as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defence.”
South Korea weather agency officials said a tremor was detected around the north-eastern town of Kilju, near where North Korea conducted its first test, in October 2006.
A US State Department spokesman said the Obama administration was not able to confirm “at this time” that a nuclear test had been carried out.
“We are consulting with our allies - once we have established the facts, we will have more to say,” the State Department official said.
A spokesman for Japan’s foreign ministry said it would respond to North Korea’s nuclear test “in a responsible fashion” at the United Nations.
The United States has been involved in negotiations with the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia aimed at scrapping North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for energy aid under a landmark six-party agreement signed in 2007.
The negotiations deadlocked over a dispute with North Korea over how to verify disarmament, before taking a sharp turn for the worse after North Korea conducted a long-range rocket launch test on April 5, this year.
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