Feeds

North Korea detonates nuclear weapon

Pyongyang walks it like it talks it

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

North Korea this morning carried out a successful underground test of a nuclear weapon, news agencies report.

The detonation came less than a week after the Pyongyang regime promised to "in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed".

The country's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) described the test - carried out under a mountain in north-eastern Hamgyong province on the day after the ninth anniversary of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's ascent to power - as "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".

KCNA continued: "It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the...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."

The US Geological Survey confirmed a seismic event in North Korea at the time of the detonation, although a South Korean expert is quoted by AP as claiming the blast was equivalent to "the force of 550 tons of TNT or a relatively small bomb".*

International reaction to the news was swift. Tony Blair slammed the test as a "completely irresponsible act", while Japan described it as "unpardonable". China played host to Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe over the weekend, and the new-found entente cordiale between the former enemies comes at a time of mounting Chinese hostility to North Korea's weapons programmes.

The US, meanwhile, has painted itself into a corner with its sabre-rattling. The country's chief negotiator at the stalled six-nations talks aimed at resolving the North Korea nuclear issue, Christopher Hill, last week warned North Korea it had reached "a very important fork in the road" and that "it can have a future or it can have these weapons, but it cannot have them both".

He added: "I am not prepared at this point to say what we are going to do, but I am prepared to say we are not going to wait for a nuclear North Korea, we are not going to accept it."

Whatever form the US's non-acceptance of a nuclear North Korea takes, it's worth noting that the Communist regime's nuclear weapons programme does not pose an immediate serious threat to its neighbours. According to the Economist, in the short-term "North Korea's nuclear capabilities are more likely to pose a greater risk to North Koreans than to the neighbours".

It describes the bombs as "fairly crude" and requiring conventional explosive detonation of the device. Accordingly, they're "not easily transportable" and would require "unusual means of delivery, such as a shipping container" were North Korea to use them in anger. It concludes that "the immediate threats from North Korea's new capability come from radioactive leaks into the atmosphere and North Korea's groundwater". ®

Bootnote

*Russia estimates "it was between five and 15 kilotons", the BBC reports.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.