North Korea Conducts Nuke Test

First test since 2006 draws international condemnation
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2009 2:38 AM CDT
North Korea Conducts Nuke Test
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il watches flight training as he inspects the Korean People's Army Air Force Unit 814 at an unknown location in North Korea.   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, File)

North Korea announced today it had successfully conducted its first nuclear test since 2006, catching the South and the US off guard and drawing a swift denunciation from Barack Obama. The underground test produced a 4.7-magnitude earthquake, but as with the previous test, it remains unclear whether the North has successfully expanded its weapons capabilities. Hours later, the country fired a short-range missile from its east coast.

The South Korean government, still in mourning over the suicide of its ex-president, held an emergency meeting, while Obama said in a statement that Pyongyang was "in violation of international law." A UN Security Council meeting has been scheduled for later today. The test comes amid growing questions about Kim Jong-Il's health and succession. "One has to wonder if this is part of the internal political transition that may be occurring inside North Korea," said an MIT professor.
(Read more UN Security Council stories.)

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