North Korea Nuke test

(URGENT) N. Korea tests nuclear weapon at Hwadaeri near Kilju at 10:36 am: Defense Ministry  — Report from South Korea Defense Ministry

North Korea is claiming to have tested a nuclear bomb. This report at present is unconfirmed by any other government, no seismic activity yet reported or detected. More to come.

Here’s the text of the announcement:

“The field of scientific research in the DPRK successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on October 9, 2006, at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great, prosperous, powerful socialist nation

“It has been confirmed that there was no such danger as radioactive emission in the course of the nuclear test as it was carried out under scientific consideration and careful calculation.

“The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent. It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability.

“It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it.”

Fox News and CNN are both reporting the DPRK announcement now.

This comes after North Korea tested 7 Missiles including a failed launch of an ICBM in September.

See previous articles on recent moves for Missle Defenses in the far east Here.

From commenter at LGF: 3.58 magnitude tremor reported

3.58 mag tremor

Detonated at Hwadaeri near Kilju at 10:36 am

Confirmation from Yonhap Wire South Korea.

Korea Herald Report

Daily Item Report

We have 70k or so troops on the border, keep them in your thoughts & prayers. Most military strategists when referencing how effective the troops would be at stopping a North Korea invasion say things like “oh, they are just there as a tripwire — if North Korea attacks, it will be against the  US as well.” They put it that way because the Norks have >1,000,000 soldiers in their army, tons of missiles, and more artillery than any nation on earth.

The bomb was less powerful than expected, the bomb test succeeded however. Intel suggested a yield in the 400 kiloton range, however Russian estimates have it in the 5-15 Kiloton range. Last report was that Korea potentially had 12 nuclear weapons, but some estimates range as high as 20.

South Korea’s stock market is taking a hit, but that should be short lived. As things calm tomorrow, so will the markets.

Please take a moment to thank President Reagan for creating Star Wars, and please remember it was George W. Bush and the Republicans who revived it. If the Norks launch a nuke, we now have chance to intercept it. Fully-layered systems are not fully in place yet, but expect that to accellerate. See the missile defense link above for lots of good news in that arena, both Japan and South Korea already have missile defense initiatives underway, with Japan’s PAC-3 batteries near completion. We are trying to convince both Poland and Canada to join us by installing their own missile shield systems in partnership with us.

Please urge your congress critters to do more, as I’ve stated in the past: the nuclear Djinn is out of the bottle, it’s only a matter of time before many nations have nuclear weapons no matter how much we try to stop it. (Not that we should give up on any of our efforts to do so.) Missile Defense is one of the most important things for peace and stability in the future. Think about your children please.

About the only bright side to this, as noted by Lizardoids at LGF: At least this will ex-foleyate the news cycle.

Analysis:

There are a lot of questions now for the region, that go beyond how parties will initially react.

Looking longer term than the drive to sanctions, the regional effects will be notable. If you suspect that the Chinese gave tacit but secret permission to DPRK, then expect more under-the-counter destabilization efforts in Southeast and Southwest Asia, with an eye on Nepal and Myanmar aka Burma. You would expect the Chinese to come out in that case initially strong for sanctions against North Korea, but then to back down.

If the Chinese didn’t give tacit permission and if they are just as upset as we are, then expect them to back some sanctions and to stick with them. Also expect North Korea to go back to their old game of playing China off against Russia, remember that Russia also has a border on North Korea and a long-standing relationship.

Do not expect this to affect China’s or Russia’s stance on Iran’s drive to gain nuclear weapons, they both like a world in which Iran is opposed to the US.

Japan will drive strongly to re-militarize, however I would not expect them to use their plutonium reserves to make nuclear weapons themselves, since this would highly agitate China and they have a cultural antipathy towards nuclear weapons. This could change with the threat over time however. Japan will continue deploying anti-missile defenses, and will probably buy more aegis cruisers. The thing to watch for is if they start buying or building (either is possible, Japan has a strong ship-building industry) Aircraft carriers.

South Korea could easily have a change to more conservative government next election cycle, the populace there is highly mercurial when it comes to politics.

Expect Iran to continue their path towards nuclear weapons, this can do naught but encourage them.