North Korea Bartering Nuke Test
Reports are surfacing that North Korea plans to conduct a nuclear test. The only detail from the North Korean side about the announcement of a planned test is that there was no timetable given. The North Korean government statement said that "The DPRK will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed.''
With no timetable given, and without doubting North Korea’s intent to test a nuclear weapon on their soil ‘at some point in the future,’ the pariah state’s announcement potentially presents itself as another attempt to remain at the forefront of international crises, similar to other bellicose attempts to further the North Korean aim of leveraging more aid. (It should also be noted here that some suspect that a North Korean weapon [or at least design] was among the multiple Pakistani bomb tests in their march toward nuclear power status.)
North Korea also blamed the United States for giving the destitute dictatorship no choice. The North Korean statement said in part, "The U.S. extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK (North Korea) to conduct a nuclear test, an essential process for bolstering nuclear deterrent, as a corresponding measure for defense." The United States has possessed nuclear weapons during its presence on the Korean peninsula without incident, including throughout the Korean War that split north from south.
Taro Aso, the Japanese Foreign Minister, reacted swiftly and called any North Korean nuclear test "totally unforgivable," adding that Japan would react “harshly.” North Korea will be watching with interest the reaction of Japan’s new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.