Lauren In Tokyo

Monday, September 13, 2004

North Korean Nuclear Test?

In case you've been living under a rock the past couple of days (and I wouldn't blame you if you have if you've already heard the news), a large explosion occurred in North Korea along the Chinese border. The preliminary reports judged the two-mile wide mushroom cloud to be of nuclear weapon origin.

The Hiroshima mushroom cloud was 5-kilometers in diameter, so this latest North Korean explosion is slightly smaller. Still, if the explosion was nuclear in origin, then the after-effects would be similar.

This is not the first unexplained North Korean explosion. In April, a train carrying explosives detonated near the town of Ryongchon, along the Chinese border.

At this time, it seems that the official word from NK is that this isn't a nuclear blast, rather they had planned to demolish a hydroelectric plant and that was the explosion that is being reported. The official word from Tokyo is that this couldn't have been a nuclear blast because there was no significant seismic activity associated with the blast. From the same link, the official American word is that it was possibly a forest fire, not a nuclear test.

All these official announcements are available without anyone but the North Koreans investigating the cause of the explosion. It doesn't sit well with me.

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