From the Washington Times:
SEOUL -- North Korea said it had performed its first nuclear-weapons test this morning, hours after Japan and China agreed during a landmark meeting that a nuclear test by the Pyongyang regime "cannot be tolerated."
The country's official Korean Central News Agency said the underground test was performed successfully and there was no radioactive leakage from the site.
"The nuclear test is a historic event that brought happiness to the our military and people," said KCNA, declaring: "The nuclear test was conducted by 100 percent of our wisdom and technology."
North Korea's announcement of a successful test followed yesterday's landmark meeting in Beijing where China and Japan announced their opposition to Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
Speaking to reporters after a day of meetings in Beijing, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he and Chinese President Hu Jintao had agreed that a North Korean nuclear test would be unacceptable.
China and Russia are responsible for the watered-down UN sanctions against North Korea and now we're all reaping what they have sown. From July, 2006:
Moves to punish North Korea for firing a series of missiles are, as expected, running into hurdles in the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China are loathe to consider the imposition of sanctions -- or even a council resolution. In a stance that mirrors their positions on Iran and Sudan, veto-wielding members China and Russia look set to block efforts by the U.S. and its allies to respond strongly to the latest provocation by the Kim Jong-il regime, which lobbed at least seven short-, medium- and long-range missiles into the Sea of Japan as Americans celebrated Independence Day.
During an emergency meeting in New York Wednesday, non-permanent Security Council member Japan prepared a resolution, backed by the U.S. and Britain, that would require nations to withhold money, know-how and equipment that could benefit North Korea's military sector. Japanese ambassador Kenzo Oshima said Tokyo was hoping for a "swift, strong and resolute" response. But French envoy Jean Marc de la Sabliere, whose country holds the council's rotating presidency this month, said afterwards that China and Russia were pushing for a presidential statement. A statement from the body's president is a far weaker diplomatic response to a crisis than a legally binding resolution entailing sanctions.
South Korea has not been much help, either. April, 2005:
The five nations trying to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons have not yet discussed involving the UN Security Council, South Korea has said. Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said that efforts to resolve the impasse still rested with six-party negotiations. His remarks came shortly after the US said that it would consider taking the matter to the Security Council if North Korea continued to refuse talks.
On Monday White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the administration would discuss taking the issue to the UN Security Council. "If they [the North Koreans] refuse to come back to the talks, then we will have to consult with our partners and look at the next steps," he said.
.......But referring to Mr McClellan's comments, Mr Ban said on Tuesday: "There has not been discussion about that at the South Korea-US government level." South Korea has said in the past that all diplomatic options should be exhausted before the Security Council becomes involved.
The UN body might consider imposing economic sanctions against North Korea - a move Seoul is eager to avoid. Since 2002, three rounds of discussions involving the US, Russia, the two Koreas, Japan and China have sought to ease tensions on the peninsula, with little success.
The security concerns of China and South Korea are understandable. When a country with nuclear potential is in your back yard, caution should not be thrown to the wind. Especially if that country is ruled by a lunatic as North Korea surely is. But the UN Security Council has been running around in circles for years and here we are. North Korea has made no secret of its intention to test nuclear weapons, defiantly ignoring all UN Resolutions and now we are in a clear emergency situation.
John Bolton had this to say last week:
John R. Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said last week that while Britain, France and Japan had made clear a strong statement was needed to warn Pyongyang against testing, he was not certain "what North Korea's protectors on the [U.N. Security] Council are going to do."
In response, Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya said: "I'm not sure which country he is referring to, but I think that for bad behavior in this world no one is going to protect them."
Apparently China was willing to wait until the "bad behavior" actually occurred to decide a nuclear test by North Korea was "unacceptable".
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday if North Korea successfully tests a nuclear weapon, it will show weakness on the part of the international community.
"And that failure … is something that the international community would have to register and ask itself how comfortable are we being that ineffective in this situation," Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon during a visit by Croatian Defense Minister Berislav Roncevic.
This is just one more example of the impotence of the United Nations. And in my opinion it casts doubt on South Korean Prime Minister Ban Ki-Moon's qualifications to lead the UN when Kofi Annan's disastrous term is up in December. I've never seen an actual written statement of qualifications for the job, I assume one exists somewhere, but I don't think "Really Good Appeaser" is one of them. And since "really good appeasing" has gotten us where we are today, a change in direction seems in order.
The big question is what do we do now? An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council has been called. This time maybe there will be a little more cooperation from China, Russia and South Korea.
***Update 10:19*** From Macsmind Re: South Korea' Ban Li-Moon
This will be the first test for South Korea’s Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, the new UN Chief as he said that getting the North under control will be a priority.
I’ll update as I get more information.
UPDATE: According to news reports over South Korean TV this is thought to be a direct challenge to Ban Ki-moon’s new position at the UN - it’s a line in the sand if you will.
***Update 10:20*** Claudia Rosett : expel North Korea
But seriously, if the UN has any interest whatsoever in addressing the clear and present danger of a nuclear-bomb-brandishing North Korea, there is something the UN could do, pronto. It could expel North Korea.
***Update 10:39*** My Way News
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The Security Council officially nominated South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon to be the next U.N. secretary-general, the council president announced Monday.
***Update 10:52*** South Korea losing ground
SEOUL, Oct 9 (Reuters) - South Korea said it has lost ground in arguing against sanctions on North Korea after its neighbour announced earlier on Monday that it had tested a nuclear device, flying in the face of a warning from the U.N. Security Council.
"Now South Korea has lost ground in arguing for dialogue in the face of (the argument for) strong measures such as sanctions," South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun told reporters.
I would think so, especially in light of this report:
SEOUL, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The chief of South Korea's intelligence agency told lawmakers on Monday it was possible North Korea would carry out a second nuclear test, Seoul's Yonhap news agency quoted one MP as saying.
The lawmaker also quoted Kim Seung-gyu, head of the National Intelligence Service, as telling a closed-door parliamentary committee meeting that unusual signs had been detected at a North Korean town in the afternoon.
***Update 11:25*** The article in the Washington Times linked above has changed. The John Bolton quote is gone for one thing. I double checked to make sure I didn't include the wrong link, but Michelle posted it also and her link has changed too. I will try to find a cached version and change the link.