Mon Oct 9, 2006 12:22 AM ET
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea said on Monday it had safely and successfully carried out an underground nuclear test in a gesture of defiance as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in South Korea.
“The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent,” North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency said.
“It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA (Korean People’s Army) and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability.”
The report said there was no leak or danger from the test.
The U.N. Security Council last Friday urged North Korea not to carry out a test, warning Pyongyang of unspecified consequences if it did.
The dollar rose to a seven-month high against the yen after the reports but analysts did not expect long-term fallout unless the situation deteriorated further.
“The economy of North Korea is virtually closed from the rest of the world and its regional impact won’t be very significant unless there was a major military confrontation,” said Wang Qing, an economist at Bank of America in Hong Kong.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said a tremor of magnitude 3.58 to 3.7 had been detected in North Korea at 0135 GMT on Monday.
However, the U.S. Geological Survey said it had detected no seismic activity such as might be expected from a nuclear test on the Korean peninsula within the past 48 hours.
Abe, speaking in Seoul after arriving from an ice-breaking visit to Beijing, also said Japan had no confirmation of a test by North Korea.
A U.S. official said North Korea gave China a 20-minute warning of its test and China immediately told the United States, Japan and South Korea.
Officials in China had no immediate comment.
SECURITY MEETING IN SEOUL
In South Korea, President Roh Moo-hyun was holding an emergency meeting of top security officials at the Blue House following the announcement.
Tokyo backs a hard line toward Pyongyang, while Seoul and Beijing — leery of instability on the peninsula — have previously cautioned against backing the North into a corner.
However, all three agree that Pyongyang should end its nearly year-long boycott of six-country talks on ending its nuclear weapons program.
North Korea announced last week it would test a nuclear device saying its hand was forced by what it called U.S. threats of nuclear war and economic sanctions. But it said it would not be the first to use a nuclear weapon.
Analysts say North Korea probably has enough fissile material to make six to eight nuclear bombs but probably does not have the technology to devise one small enough to mount on a missile.
MORE INFO: According to the USGS there was a 4.2 Magnitude earthquake around the time the test was supposed to have been conducted. Additionally you can see the location of the test HERE on Google maps.