Friday, October 06, 2006

North Korea May Carry Out Nuclear Test This Weekend (Update2)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- North Korea may test its first nuclear bomb this weekend, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi said in Washington, according to a government official in Japan.

``Regarding the nuclear issue, there are several views, but it is possible they will carry it out as soon as this weekend,'' Yachi told U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said today in Tokyo, speaking on condition of anonymity.

North Korea announced on Oct. 3 it will conduct a test without giving the timing, prompting calls by South Korea, China and Japan to abandon the plan and return to six-nation talks on dismantling its nuclear weapons program.
Should a test occur, the U.S. will draft a United Nations resolution that will include the threat of military action against North Korea, U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said on Oct. 4.

``We can't rule out a test as early as this weekend,'' the Japanese official quoted Edelman as saying. Yachi and Edelman met yesterday in Washington.
A U.S. military plane capable of detecting radiation yesterday left an airbase on the island of Okinawa to monitor North Korea, Japan's Kyodo News reported, citing people it didn't identify.

Export Threat
A nuclear North Korea may set off an arms race in the region, analysts have said, similar to Pakistan's test of a bomb in May 1998 after India detonated two devices earlier the same month. Pakistan's 1998 test was the last time a country became nuclear.

North Korea's threat as an exporter of weapons technology to terrorists or so-called rogue states would increase with a test, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.
``North Korea is a known proliferator of weapons technologies,'' Rumsfeld said yesterday at the Pentagon, according to a Defense Department transcript. ``They've announced they have nuclear weapons. People have to be concerned that a proliferating nation might proliferate weapons of that type.''

A nuclear test by North Korea would be a signal that the international community has failed to cooperate to produce enough leverage to dissuade Kim Jong Il's regime from proceeding with its nuclear program, he said.


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