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North Korea Warns: Bigger Tests, Missile Launch

As a North Korean diplomat from their Beijing embassy said that the communist dictatorship could set off a bigger test as well as take “additional measures,” China’s United Nations ambassador said, “I think that there has to be some punitive actions. We need to have a firm, constructive, appropriate but prudent response.” Ambassador Wang Guangya did not elaborate on the American sanctions proposals delivered to the UN Security Council earlier in the day, which included a ban on all trade involving dual-use technology and cargo inspections on all shipments to and from North Korea – effectively an air and naval blockade.

But the North Korean intransigence continued apace, with the war of words targeting the United States, whose sanctions it wants to end and whose aid it seeks to coerce. To that end, the North Korean embassy official in Beijing said to a South Korean newspaper, “We hope the situation will be settled before an unhappy incident of us firing a nuclear missile occurs. It all depends on how the United States reacts.”

Dismissing such attempts to intimidate a favorable outcome, American ambassador to the UN John Bolton said, “This is the way North Korea typically negotiates, by threat and intimidation. It has worked for them before. It won’t work for them now.” With China, North Korea’s only ally, taking such a hard-line position against them on the issue, a nuclear missile launch may be the only way to change the dynamic, a change that would decidedly not be advantageous for Pyongyang. While the extent China is willing to support “some punitive actions” remains to be seen, that it cancelled leave for its troops on the North Korean border may be a sign of resolution.

In a sign of regional jitters, a Japanese broadcast mistook an earthquake off the Tokyo shore as a 2nd nuclear test. But there has yet to be a definitive analysis of the first test’s material effect. The unknowns have left speculation that has ranged from a fake test using military high explosive to a failed device that did not reach nuclear fission. Also considered has been the most unlikely of scenarios in which the test was of a miniaturized plutonium device, such as a ‘suitcase nuke.’ But considering the technology required for a miniaturized warhead within the context of no previous nuclear bomb tests, it is a highly unlikely scenario.

Curiously, Russia’s estimation of the blast level is far outside the scope of all other analyses, with an estimate of a 5-15 kiloton blast compared to most other estimates that peak at about 1.5 kilotons. The United States estimates the Monday test at between 0.5 and 1 kiloton and questions whether it was nuclear in nature.

America’s one remaining WC-135 Constant Phoenix atmospheric collection aircraft has been deployed to take particle samples in search of atomic evidence. While acknowledging that there has been no atomic detection to date since the blast, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said that Moscow was absolutely certain of the blast’s nuclear nature and size but offered no details as to how this conclusion was reached. “We have our secret methods, but I will not discuss them,” Ivanov said without elaboration.

Feedback

SO! North Korea claims to have nuclear capability. China wants NK to be punished. Everyone objects to NK nuclear test. Everyone says the US is at fault. Everyone will say the US must punish NK. IF any one does anything to NK, NK will blame the US. If nothing happens to NK, the US will be blamed for doing nothing. Isn't life great when one can always blame the US. No need to blame anyone else. The US can handle the problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, let’s get this straight. According to North Korea, any increased US pressure equals 'physical corresponding measures.' Any UN sanctions placed on the Communist regime will be seen as a declaration of war, which would ultimately lead to ‘physical corresponding measures.’ Finally, the failure of the US to join North Korea at the negotiating table will result in the firing of a missile equipped with a nuclear warhead. Now let’s look at what the international community has done to respond to these threats.

1) The United States has flat out rejected talks with North Korea.

2) Australia has taken the lead in imposing unilateral sanctions against North Korea including visa restrictions. Japan has now followed suit by adding new sanctions to their already imposed sanction including barring all North Korean ships from Japanese ports.

3) The UN Security Council is currently working on coming to terms about sanctions to impose on North Korea.

In essence, the international community has dared North Korea to live up to their threats; and with good reason. As US Ambassador John Bolton acknowledged “North Korea was simply trying to negotiate with threats and intimidation. It's worked for them before. It's not going to work this time.”

Although there is a lot of coverage on this issue, it is still unclear as to where this situation is headed. However, one thing seems definitive: it’s North Korea (with Iran tagging along) versus the world. It should be clear to everyone that the international community has the upper hand in this crisis. However, knowing how impuslsive Kim Jong Il is, it will be interesting to see if North Korea does in fact live up to its threats.

I read an oped in The London Times yesterday wherein an Alice Miles castigated President Bush for not having led sufficiently on the NK "crisis" - the reason being, of course as all UK leftys recite in unison, "the quandering of moral authority in Iraq"!

Let us leave aside the hilarious contradiction of that op-ed, ie. Hawk not being hawkish enough because hawk was too hawkish, and just suggest to Europe that both England and France have enough military might to end the NK threat overnight, though that would mean actually doing something. They won't do that, of course, making a decision is far more painful than blaming Bush.

But I'm thinking never mind "Lil Kim". He's a nuisanmce but he is not the gravest threat to the world. That title lies with Iran. And it is naive in the extreme to think that NK and Iran do not act in unison - and primarily for Iran's benefit.

We seem to be heading to a crunch time round 2 vis a vis Iran's attack not only on Israel but on the West in general.

US naval "exercises" including a full US carrier group are scheduled to begin in the Persian Gulf by the end of October. Israeli opposition politicians "leak" that there are only a few months left to stop Iran's nuke programs.
Could there be a more ideal time for "Lil Kim" to detonate a few hundred tons of TNT deep underground? I think not.
It's the old switcheroo - updated for the 21st century.
So to the op-ed writer of the London Times, I'd just say
"Ms. Miles, I don't think (yet anyways) President Bush has taken his eye off the ball on this one. Stay tuned.