Monday, May 25, 2009

North Korea conducts 'successful' nuclear test

Deterrent ... the Government of Kim Jong-il has carried out a nuclear test in North Korea / Reuters

( -NORTH Korea staged a "successful" underground nuclear test today, the communist state's official media said.

The North "successfully conducted another underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of its measures aimed at strengthening its self-defence nuclear deterrent in every way," the Korean Central News Agency said.

The test will "contribute to safeguarding our sovereignty and socialism and guaranteeing peace and safety on the Korean peninsula and the surrounding region," it said.

The four-paragraph story gave no details of the location.

"The current nuclear test was safely conducted on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology of its control and the results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology," it said.

"The successful nuclear test is greatly inspiring the army and people of the DPRK all out in the 150-day campaign, intensifying the drive for effecting a new revolutionary surge to open the gate to a thriving nation."

South Korean officials said a tremor was detected around the northeastern town of Kilju, near where the first test was conducted in October 2006.

YTN Television quoted the South Korean weather agency as saying it detected a tremor indicating a test at 12.54 GMT (10.58am AEST).

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak had called an emergency meeting of cabinet ministers over the test, Yonhap said.

North Korea had recently said it would again test a nuclear device - its first was in October 2006 - in reaction to tightened international sanctions after it fired a long-range rocket in April.

News of the test hit South Korean financial markets, sending the main KOSPI share index down 4per cent in late morning trade, while the won dropped more than 1 per cent against the dollar.

Japan's Government has set up a taskforce in the office of Prime Minister Taro Aso after the test.

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