Monday, May 25, 2009


The US Geological Survey said on its Web site a magnitude 4.7 earthquake was recorded in northeastern North Korea at 9:54 am local time yesterday. The quake struck 10 kilometers below the surface about 375 kilometers northeast of Pyongyang. But this was no earthquake.
North Korea conducted a powerful nuclear test yesterday morning, prompting international condemnation and warnings of tougher U.N. sanctions. Pyongyang also fired three mid- and short-range missiles from its eastern coastal launch site in the afternoon. The latter two launches were seen as an apparent move to threaten U.S. spy planes monitoring the nuclear test site.
The communist country said the underground nuclear blast was carried out "successfully" and "on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology," than its first test in October 2006. Military authorities in Russia estimated that the blast was 20 times as powerful as the first nuclear detonation, which was regarded as only marginally successful.
Seoul condemned the North's move as an "intolerable provocation" that clearly violated inter-Korean and multinational agreements and a U.N. resolution that banned its nuclear test and missile-related activities.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the test was "a threat to international peace" and "warrants action by the international community." Russia, Britain and France, all UNSC members with veto power, called for a stern action against the violation of the U.N. resolution. China, the North's only ally and a permanent UNSC member, remained relatively low-key, calling on the North to cease all actions that would worsen the situation.
The North is believed to have produced enough plutonium to produce up to eight nuclear weapons from its five-megawatt reactor in Yongbyon.

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