2006 North Korean nuclear test

2006 North Korean nuclear test

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The 2006 North Korean nuclear test was the detonation of a nuclear device
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 conducted on October 9, 2006 by North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...


North Korea announced its intention to conduct a test on October 3, six days prior, and in doing so became the first nation to give warning of its first nuclear test. The blast is estimated to have had an explosive force of less than one kiloton, and some radioactive output was detected. United States officials suggested the device may have been a nuclear explosive that misfired.

An anonymous official at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing told a South Korean newspaper that the explosive output was smaller than expected. Because of the secretive nature of North Korea and small yield of the test, there remains some question as to whether it was a successful test of an unusually small device (which would have required sophisticated technology), or a partially failed "fizzle
Fizzle (nuclear test)
In nuclear weapons, a fizzle occurs when the testing of a nuclear bomb fails to meet its expected yield. The reason for the failure can be linked to improper bomb design, poor construction, or lack of expertise. All countries that have had a nuclear weapons testing program have experienced fizzles...

" or dud.

It was reported that the government of the People's Republic of China was given a 20-minute advance warning that the test was about to occur. China sent an emergency alert to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 through the United States embassy in Beijing
Sino-American relations
For the article on U.S.-Taiwan relations, see Republic of China – United States relations.Sino-American or People's Republic of China–United States relations refers to international relations between the United States of America and the government of People's Republic of China...

 at which time President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 was told by National Security Advisor
National Security Advisor (United States)
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor , serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues...

 Stephen Hadley
Stephen Hadley
Stephen John Hadley was the 21st U.S. Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs , serving under President George W. Bush....

 "shortly after" 10 p.m. (UTC-5
UTC−05:00 is an identifier for a time offset from UTC of −05.This offset is used in the Eastern Time Zone during standard time and in the Central Time Zone during Daylight Saving Time ....

) that a test was imminent.


North Korea had been suspected of maintaining a clandestine nuclear weapons development program since the early 1990s when it constructed a plutonium
Plutonium is a transuranic radioactive chemical element with the chemical symbol Pu and atomic number 94. It is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, forming a dull coating when oxidized. The element normally exhibits six allotropes and four oxidation...

-producing Magnox
Magnox is a now obsolete type of nuclear power reactor which was designed and is still in use in the United Kingdom, and was exported to other countries, both as a power plant, and, when operated accordingly, as a producer of plutonium for nuclear weapons...

 nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

 at Yongbyon
Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center
The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center is North Korea's major nuclear facility, operating its first nuclear reactors. It is located in the county of Nyŏngbyŏn in North Pyongan province, about 90 km north of Pyongyang...

, and various diplomatic means had been used by the international community to attempt to limit North Korea's nuclear work to peaceful and scientific means and encouraging North Korea to participate in international treaties. In 1994, the United States and North Korea signed the "Agreed Framework
Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
The Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was signed on October 21, 1994 between North Korea and the United States...

", whereby North Korea agreed to freeze its plutonium production program in exchange for fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

, economic cooperation, and the construction of two modern nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant
A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is one or more nuclear reactors. As in a conventional thermal power station the heat is used to generate steam which drives a steam turbine connected to a generator which produces electricity.Nuclear power plants are usually...

s powered by light-water reactors. Eventually, North Korea's existing nuclear facilities were to be dismantled, and the spent reactor fuel taken out of the country.

However, in 2002, rumors circulated that North Korea was pursuing both uranium enrichment
Enriched uranium
Enriched uranium is a kind of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235 has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Natural uranium is 99.284% 238U isotope, with 235U only constituting about 0.711% of its weight...

 technology and plutonium reprocessing technologies in defiance of the Agreed Framework. North Korea reportedly told American diplomats in private that they were in possession of nuclear weapons, citing American failures to uphold their own end of the "Agreed Framework" as a motivating force. North Korea later clarified that it did not possess weapons yet, but that it had a right to possess them. In late 2002 and early 2003, North Korea began to take steps to eject International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

 inspectors while re-routing spent fuel rods for plutonium reprocessing for weapons purposes. Throughout the course of 2003, North Korean and American officials exchanged harsh words and staged military exercises which were interpreted by the other party to be aggressive. As late as the end of 2003, North Korea claimed that it would freeze its nuclear program in exchange for American concessions – in particular a non-aggression treaty – but a final agreement was not reached and talks continued to be cancelled or fall through. North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 in 2003 after not receiving light-water reactors promised by the U.S. which were going to be delivered in exchange for North Korea not developing their own power plants, as understood in the "Agreed Framework."

In early 2004 former Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

 director Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker
Siegfried S. Hecker
Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker, PhD, is an Austrian-Polish-American nuclear scientist and metallurgist who served as the Emeritus Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986 till 1997. A nuclear weapons specialist, Dr...

, as part of an unofficial U.S. delegation, was allowed to inspect North Korea's plutonium production facilities. Hecker later testified before the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 that while North Korea seems to have successfully extracted plutonium from the spent fuel rods, he saw no evidence at the time that they had actually produced a workable weapon. In 2007, the former senior scientist of Pakistan, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan
Abdul Qadeer Khan
Abdul Qadeer Khan , also known in Pakistan as Mohsin-e-Pakistan , D.Eng, Sc.D, HI, NI , FPAS; more widely known as Dr. A. Q...

 claimed that North Korea's nuclear program was well advanced before his visit in 1993 with Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

, former Prime minister.

In September 2004, though, North Korean officials announced they had successfully processed Yongbyon plutonium into a workable nuclear deterrent. Through 2005 more diplomatic talks were attempted between the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia (the six-party talks
Six-party talks
The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.There has been a series of meetings with six participating states:* The Democratic People's Republic of Korea ;...

) but little concrete change occurred.

Because North Korea had not conducted a successful test of a nuclear device, the extent of its nuclear weapons program remained ambiguous through 2005 and much of 2006. Though North Korea conducted numerous missile tests (some of which were branded failures by international experts), the question of whether they had actually mastered all aspects of nuclear weapons technology – ranging from material production to complex nuclear weapon design
Nuclear weapon design
Nuclear weapon designs are physical, chemical, and engineering arrangements that cause the physics package of a nuclear weapon to detonate. There are three basic design types...

 needed to produce the final detonation – remained unanswered.

North Korean statements

Rumours of an impending nuclear test circulated during 2005 and early 2006, though none came to immediate fruition. On October 3, 2006, however, North Korea claimed that it would soon conduct a nuclear test, and on October 9, 2006, the state claimed to have successfully conducted a test. The Korean Central News Agency
Korean Central News Agency
The Korean Central News Agency is the state news agency of North Korea and has existed since December 5, 1946. KCNA is headquartered in the capital city of Pyongyang...

, the state's news agency, issued the following statement:
Later, the North Korean envoy to the U.N. said it would be better for the Security Council to offer its congratulations rather than pass "useless" resolutions
United Nations Security Council Resolution
A United Nations Security Council resolution is a UN resolution adopted by the fifteen members of the Security Council; the UN body charged with "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security"....


Threats of war

On October 10, 2006, an unnamed North Korean official was quoted as saying that North Korea could launch a nuclear missile unless the U.S. sits down for face-to-face talks. However, few, if any, military and defense experts believe that the North Koreans possess the technology to mount a nuclear warhead to a ballistic missile
Ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...


On October 11, the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 reported that North Korea has threatened war if attempts are made to penalize them through further sanctions. This statement occurred even as Japan moved to tighten sanctions on the communist country. South Korea said they were ensuring their troops were prepared for nuclear war
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

. A U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

, stationed along the border between North and South Korea, said that the overall situation was "calm" but that "Communist troops were more boldly trying to provoke their southern counterparts: spitting
Spitting or expectoration is the act of forcibly ejecting saliva or other substances from the mouth. It is currently considered rude and a social taboo in many parts of the world including the West, while in some other parts of the world it is considered more acceptable...

 across the demarcation line, making throat-slashing hand gestures, flashing their middle finger
Finger (gesture)
In Western culture, the finger , also known as the middle finger, is an obscene hand gesture, often meaning the phrases "fuck off" , "fuck you" or "up yours"...

s and trying to talk to the troops."

On that day, the North Korean Foreign Ministry stated that "if the U.S. keeps pestering us and increases pressure, we will regard it as a declaration of war and will take a series of physical corresponding measures."

On October 17 North Korea denounced U.N. sanctions over its nuclear test as a declaration of war and the United States and other nations suspect that North Korea is seeking to conduct a second nuclear test despite international pressure.

Kim Jong Il's alleged apology

On October 20, 2006, Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il, also written as Kim Jong Il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim born 16 February 1941 or 16 February 1942 , is the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea...

 allegedly said that he was "sorry" over his country's nuclear test, and wished to return to talk with the UN. Kim Jong Il was quoted by a Chinese envoy as saying, Kim Jong-Il also said that he has no future plans to test another nuclear device. The U.S. State Department discounted this report.

Return to six-party talks

On October 31, 2006, North Korea agreed to rejoin six-nation disarmament talks
Six-party talks
The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.There has been a series of meetings with six participating states:* The Democratic People's Republic of Korea ;...

. The agreement was struck in a day of unpublicized discussions between the senior envoys from the United States, China and North Korea at a government guesthouse in Beijing. The talks resumed on December 18, 2006.

Yield estimates and authenticity

The low yield of the test initially raised questions as to whether it was a nuclear explosion but detection of airborne radioactive isotopes by a United States military aircraft confirmed that it was a nuclear explosion. The advance warning of the test sent to the Chinese government reportedly said that the planned test yield
Nuclear weapon yield
The explosive yield of a nuclear weapon is the amount of energy discharged when a nuclear weapon is detonated, expressed usually in the equivalent mass of trinitrotoluene , either in kilotons or megatons , but sometimes also in terajoules...

 was to be equivalent to approximately four kilotons in strength, but most outside estimates, based largely on seismic readings, put the yield at much less.

At a meeting with President Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov
Sergei Ivanov
Sergei Borisovich Ivanov is a Russian senior official and statesman. He was Minister of Defence from March 2001 to February 2007, Deputy Prime Minister from November 2005 to February 2007, and the First Deputy Prime Minister from February 2007 to May 2008...

 stated that "the power of the tests carried out was 5 to 15 kilotons", though this early estimate is much higher than any other international estimate. An early report by the Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (South Korea) said the blast was equivalent to an earthquake registering 3.58 on the Richter scale, which corresponds to the explosion of 100 tons of TNT. This was later revised to at least 800 tons, corresponding to a blast wave of 4.2. The U.S. Geological Survey also estimates the blast wave at 4.2. (Note that 4.2 is considerably more powerful than 3.58 because the Richter scale is a logarithmic scale
Logarithmic scale
A logarithmic scale is a scale of measurement using the logarithm of a physical quantity instead of the quantity itself.A simple example is a chart whose vertical axis increments are labeled 1, 10, 100, 1000, instead of 1, 2, 3, 4...


According to Jane's Defence Weekly
Jane's Defence Weekly
Jane's Defence Weekly is a weekly magazine reporting on military and corporate affairs, edited by Peter Felstead. It is one of a number of military-related publications named after John F. T. Jane, an Englishman who first published Jane's All the World's Fighting Ships in 1898...

, "initial and unconfirmed South Korean reports indicate that the test was a fission device with a yield of 0.55 kT ... The figure of 0.55 kT, however, seems too low given the 4.2 register on the Richter scale. This could suggest — depending upon the geological make-up of the test site — a yield of 2–12 kT."

An official in France's Atomic Energy Commission
Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique
The Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives or CEA, is a French “public establishment related to industrial and commercial activities” whose mission is to develop all applications of nuclear power, both civilian and military...

 reported that they estimated the blast was "about or less than a kiloton" and expressed uncertainty about whether or not the blast was actually nuclear. There have been various large planned and unplanned non-nuclear explosions comparable in yield to small nuclear detonations, such as the U.S. "Minor Scale
Minor scale
A minor scale in Western music theory includes any scale that contains, in its tonic triad, at least three essential scale degrees: 1) the tonic , 2) a minor-third, or an interval of a minor third above the tonic, and 3) a perfect-fifth, or an interval of a perfect fifth above the tonic, altogether...

" explosion from 1985, which used conventional explosives to simulate a 4 kiloton detonation. According to the Washington Times anonymous U.S. intelligence sources speculated there "was a seismic event that registered about 4 on the Richter scale, but it still isn't clear if it was a nuclear test. You can get that kind of seismic reading from high explosives." The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

explains that this blast was equivalent to the explosive force of about $100,000 worth of ammonium nitrate. International experts have said that it will take some time to confirm whether it was a successful nuclear test, as North Korea claimed, or an unsuccessful one ("fizzle"), or perhaps not even a nuclear test at all.

By comparison, the first plutonium core nuclear device tested by the United States (Trinity test) had a yield of 20 kilotons of TNT, and the first nuclear device detonated by India in 1974
Smiling Buddha
The Smiling Buddha, formally designated as Pokhran-I, was the codename given to Republic of India's first nuclear test explosion that took place at the long-constructed Indian Army base, Pokhran Test Range at Pokhran municipality, Rajasthan state on 18 May 1974 at 8:05 a.m....

, though of primitive design, had a yield in the region of 8 kilotons of TNT. If the North Korean nuclear test is less than even a kiloton in yield, it would be a historically small inaugural nuclear test. Even if it were as many as the reported intentional yield of 4 kt it would be the smallest nuclear test ever conducted by a state as a first test. Some advanced nuclear powers have produced very small tactical nuclear weapon
Tactical nuclear weapon
A tactical nuclear weapon refers to a nuclear weapon which is designed to be used on a battlefield in military situations. This is as opposed to strategic nuclear weapons which are designed to menace large populations, to damage the enemy's ability to wage war, or for general deterrence...

s in the low-kiloton range, but their development is far more technologically challenging than that of weapons in the 15-20 kiloton range, requiring advanced weapons materials and core geometries.

If the North Korean device was significantly short of its predicted yield, it could be classified as a "fizzle" indicating that some aspect of the nuclear weapon design
Nuclear weapon design
Nuclear weapon designs are physical, chemical, and engineering arrangements that cause the physics package of a nuclear weapon to detonate. There are three basic design types...

 or material production did not function correctly. In a fizzle the warhead blows itself apart too fast for the nuclear reactions to generate a large amount of energy, or fails to form a supercritical mass for some other reason. A fizzle can result from predetonation, insufficient precision in the explosive lens
Explosive lens
An explosive lens—as used, for example, in nuclear weapons—is a highly specialized explosive charge, a special type of a shaped charge. In general, it is a device composed of several explosive charges that are shaped in such a way as to change the shape of the detonation wave passing through it,...

es used to compress the plutonium core, or impurities in the plutonium itself, among other factors. A fizzle can also result from the use of reactor grade plutonium rather than weapons-grade
A weapons-grade substance is one that is pure enough to be used to make a weapon or has properties that make it suitable for weapons use. Weapons-grade plutonium and uranium are the most common examples, but it may also be used to refer to chemical and biological weapons...


On October 13, 2006, CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 reported that two U.S. government officials with access to classified information stated that the initial air sampling over North Korea shows no indication of radioactive debris from the event that North Korea says was an underground nuclear test. Some hours later, the report was reversed and stated there was evidence of radiation, though not enough data has been collected yet to be conclusive. The newspaper Hankyoreh reported an unnamed North Korean diplomat had acknowledged that the actual yield was smaller than expected.

On October 16, 2006, the United States government reported that a test had found radioactive gas compatible with a nuclear explosion.

The office of John Negroponte
John Negroponte
John Dimitri Negroponte is an American diplomat. He is currently a research fellow and lecturer in international affairs at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs...

, the US National Intelligence Director confirmed that the size of the explosion was less than 1 kiloton.

Test site location

According to initial reports from South Korean government sources, the test was carried out at a mountain in Musadan-ri in Hwadae
Hwadae is a county in southern North Hamgyong province, North Korea, with an area of about 460 km² and a population of approximately 70,000. It adjoins the Sea of Japan on the east and south. By land, it adjoins Kimchaek and Kilchu to the west, and Myŏngch'ŏn to the north...

-kun, near the city of Kilchu
Kilju, sometimesromanized as Kilchu, is a county in North Hamgyong province, North Korea. The county seat is Kilju Town.-History:The area around Kilju was part of the ancient Goguryeo kingdom, and was long inhabited by various Jurchen tribes. In 1107 it was annexed by Goryeo, who gave it its...

, in North Hamgyŏng province on the northeast coast. However, later reports from the state National Intelligence Service
National Intelligence Service (South Korea)
The National Intelligence Service is the chief intelligence agency of South Korea. The agency was officially established in 1961 as the Korea Central Intelligence Agency , during the rule of President Park Chung-hee's military Supreme Council for National Reconstruction, which displaced the...

 identified the site as being a place in Sangpyong-ri, about 15 km from the coastal city of Kimchaek
Kimch'aek, formerly Sŏngjin , is a city in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea. It has a population of 196,000...

 and about 50 km west of Musadan-ri.

The Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources reported seismic waves measuring 3.58 on the Richter scale. The United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 reported that a seismic event
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 occurred at 01:35:28 UTC (10:35:28 a.m. local time, UTC+9
UTC+09:00 is an identifier for a time offset from UTC of +09. This time is used in:-As standard time :*East Timor*Indonesia **Moluccas**Papua and West Papua *Japan - Japan Standard Time*North Korea...

) on October 9, 2006 and measured 4.3 on the Richter scale. It occurred at the geographic coordinates 41°17′38.4"N 129°08′2.4"E with a horizontal location uncertainty of ±9.6 km (6.0 miles). This is 73 km (45.4 mi) north of Kimchaek
Kimch'aek, formerly Sŏngjin , is a city in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea. It has a population of 196,000...

, 90 km (55.9 mi) southwest of Chongjin
Ch'ŏngjin is the capital of North Korea's North Hamgyŏng Province and the country's third largest city. From 1960 to 1967 and again from 1977 to 1985, Ch'ŏngjin was administered separately from North Hamgyŏng as a Directly Governed City...

, 180 km (111.8 mi) south of Yanji
Yanji , also known as Yeon'gil from its Korean name , is the seat of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, eastern Jilin province, Northeast China. Its population is approximately 400,000 of which a large section is ethnic Korean...

, and 385 km (239.2 mi) northeast of Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...


October 11 false alarm

A suspected second North Korean nuclear test was reported by the Japanese broadcaster NHK
NHK is Japan's national public broadcasting organization. NHK, which has always identified itself to its audiences by the English pronunciation of its initials, is a publicly owned corporation funded by viewers' payments of a television license fee....

 the next day on October 11, 2006. While the Japanese government
Government of Japan
The government of Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the 1947 constitution as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people". Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected...

 confirmed there was a tremor, it claimed no knowledge of whether it was due to a nuclear test. The second tremor was a magnitude 5.8, which is larger than the earthquake caused by the first possible nuclear explosion. United States and South Korean sources stated it was unlikely the event was due to a nuclear test. The earthquake did not occur in North Korea but east of Japan in a seismically active area of the Pacific.

Second test

On October 16, 2006, U.S. spy satellites detected vehicles and people near the site of North Korea's initial nuclear test. U.S. officials said they could not be certain of what the North Koreans were doing in the area, but the activity could be preparations for a second nuclear blast, NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 and ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...


On October 18, 2006, U.S. officials say North Korea's military has informed the People's Republic of China it intends to carry out a series of underground nuclear tests, NBC News reported. The Associated Press, citing CNN Television, reports that the North Koreans have informed the People's Republic of China that they are prepared to make "as many as three additional tests."
No further tests occurred in 2006, however, in 2009, a second test
2009 North Korean nuclear test
The 2009 North Korean nuclear test was the underground detonation of a nuclear device conducted on 25 May 2009 by North Korea. This was its second nuclear test, the first test having taken place in October 2006. Following the nuclear test, Pyongyang also conducted several missile tests.The test was...

 was conducted.

International reaction

International condemnation of the tests by governments has been nearly unanimous, including from North Korea's close ally and benefactor, the People's Republic of China. All five veto-wielding permanent members of the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 condemned the nuclear test. On October 10, however, South Korean Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook told Parliament that South Korea will not support any United Nations resolution containing military measures against North Korea in retaliation for its nuclear test. The People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 and Russia have also ruled out "military measures" against North Korea. The Japanese government also deemed the nuclear test "totally unforgivable."

Economic impact

Negative economic effects were seen throughout the region after the test. South Korea's KOSPI
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index or KOSPI is the index of all common stocks traded on the Stock Market Division—previously, Korea Stock Exchange—of the Korea Exchange....

 index fell 2.4% to 1319.4, forcing the Korea Exchange to suspend trading for five minutes upon receiving the news. The Japanese and Taiwanese stock exchanges were closed for a market holiday on the day of the test. The Japanese yen also fell to a seven-month low against the United States dollar while oil on the world market rose above US$60 a barrel. Gold prices rose 1% as a safe haven investment.
Several stock markets in Asia from Singapore to Manila have traded lower possibly because of the tests. American stock markets were mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Dow Jones Industrial Average
The Dow Jones Industrial Average , also called the Industrial Average, the Dow Jones, the Dow 30, or simply the Dow, is a stock market index, and one of several indices created by Wall Street Journal editor and Dow Jones & Company co-founder Charles Dow...

 down at its open the next day; however, at 10:30 a.m. EDT, the Dow rebounded and concluded the day with an increase of 7.60 points (+0.06%). NSE
National Stock Exchange of India
The National Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It is the 9th largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization and largest in India by daily turnover and number of trades, for both equities and derivative trading. NSE has a market capitalization...

 and BSE
Bombay Stock Exchange
The Bombay Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located on Dalal Street, Mumbai and is the oldest stock exchange in Asia. The equity market capitalization of the companies listed on the BSE was 1.63 trillion as of December 2010, making it the 4th largest stock exchange in Asia and the 8th largest...

 of India, however, showed some strength.

United Nations' response

On October 14, 2006, the UN Security Council unanimously approved limited military and economic sanctions against North Korea. All five permanent members stated that the sanctions, set out in UNSC Resolution 1718
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718 was adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on October 14, 2006. The resolution, passed under Chapter VII, Article 41, of the UN Charter, imposes a series of economic and commercial sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of...

, were intended to penalize the country's regime, not inhabitants. They also stated that if North Korea were willing to cooperate and complied with all the measures contained in the resolution, the sanctions would be lifted. The U.S. compromised on its initial desire to block all imports of military equipment, and to have an unlimited reference to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter sets out the UN Security Council's powers to maintain peace. It allows the Council to "determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" and to take military and nonmilitary action to "restore international peace...

 so providing a legal justification for future military action, in order to gain full support for the resolution.

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Wikinews story chronology

  • February 10: "North Korea declares it has nuclear weapons; cancels talks"
  • February 19: "North Korea has no further interest in negotiations with United States"
  • May 11: "North Korea removes spent nuclear fuel rods"
  • June 23: "No resolution in North Korean nuclear stalemate"
  • September 19: "Nuclear arms agreement reached with North Korea"

  • August 18: "North Korea reportedly planning nuclear bomb test"
  • October 3: "North Korea says it will test a nuclear weapon in the future"
  • October 9: "North Korea claims it has conducted a nuclear test"

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