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Old Tuesday, October 24, 2006
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Arrow Us-north Korea Relations

GUYS THIS CAN BE AN ARTICLE AS WELL AS AN INDEPENDANT QUESTION IN CURRENT AFFAIRZ PAPERZ .ITS BURNING ISSUE OF THE YEAR;

U.S.-North Korea relations developed primarily during the Korean War, but in recent years have been largely defined by the United States' suspicions regarding North Korea's nuclear programs, and North Korea's perception of an imminent US attack.

Background
Although hostility between the two countries remains largely a product of Cold War politics, there were earlier conflicts and animosity between the US and Korea. In the mid-19th century Korea closed its borders to Western trade, much as North Korea has today. In the General Sherman Incident, Korean forces attacked a US gunboat sent to negotiate a trade treaty and killed its crew, after it defied instructions from Korean officials. A US retribution attack, the Sinmiyangyo, followed.
Korea and the US ultimately established trade relations in 1882. Relations soured again when the US negotiated peace in the Russo-Japanese War. Japan persuaded the US to accept Korea as part of Japan's sphere of influence, and the US did not protest when Japan annexed Korea five years later. Korean nationalists petitioned the US to support their cause at the Versailles Treaty conference under Woodrow Wilson's principle of national self-determination, without success.
The US divided Korea after World War II along the 38th parallel, intending it as a temporary measure. However, the breakdown of relations between the US and USSR prevented a reunification. The North Korean government came to see the US as an imperalist successor to Japan, a view it still holds today. The United States maintains economic sanctions against the DPRK under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
North Korea joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapons state in 1985, and North and South Korean talks begun in 1990 resulted in a 1992 Denuclearization Statement. However, lack of progress in developing and implementing an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the inspection of the North's nuclear facilities led to North Korea's March 1993 announcement of its withdrawal from the NPT. A UN Security Council resolution in May 1993 urged North Korea to cooperate with the IAEA and to implement the 1992 North-South Denuclearization Statement. It also urged all member states to encourage North Korea to respond positively to this resolution and to facilitate a solution of the nuclear issue.
U.S.-North Korea talks beginning in June 1993 led to the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework in October 1994:
• North Korea agreed to freeze its existing plutonium enrichment program, to be monitored by the IAEA;
• Both sides agreed to cooperate to replace North Korea's graphite-moderated reactors with light water reactor (LWR) power plants, to be financed and supplied by an international consortium (later identified as the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization or KEDO);
• The United States and North Korea agreed to work together to store safely the spent fuel from the five-megawatt reactor and dispose of it in a safe manner that does not involve reprocessing in North Korea;
• The two sides agreed to move toward full normalization of political and economic relations;
• Both sides agreed to work together for peace and security on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula; and
• Both sides agreed to work together to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.
In accordance with the terms of the Agreed Framework, North Korea decided to freeze its nuclear program and cooperate with United States and IAEA verification efforts, and in January 1995 the U.S. eased economic sanctions against North Korea. North Korea agreed to accept the decisions of KEDO, the financier and supplier of the LWRs, with respect to provision of the reactors. KEDO subsequently identified Sinpo as the LWR project site and held a groundbreaking ceremony in August 1997. In December 1999, KEDO and the (South) Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) signed the Turnkey Contract (TKC), permitting fullscale construction of the LWRs.
In January 1995, as called for in the Agreed Framework, the United States and North Korea negotiated a method to store safely the spent fuel from the five-megawatt reactor. According to this method, U.S. and North Korean operators would work together to can the spent fuel and store the canisters in the spent fuel pond. Actual canning began in 1995. In April 2000, canning of all accessible spent fuel rods and rod fragments was declared complete.
In 1998, the United States identified an underground site in Kumchang-ni, which it suspected of being nuclear-related. In March 1999, North Korea agreed to grant the U.S. "satisfactory access" to the site. In October 2000, during Special Envoy Jo Myong Rok's visit to Washington, and after two visits to the site by teams of U.S. experts, the U.S. announced in a Joint Communiqué with North Korea that U.S. concerns about the site had been resolved.
As called for in Dr. William Perry's official review of U.S. policy toward North Korea, the United States and North Korea launched new negotiations in May 2000 called the Agreed Framework Implementation Talks.
North Korea policy under George W. Bush
Following the inauguration of President George W. Bush in January 2001, the new Administration began a review of North Korea policy. At the conclusion of that review, the Administration announced on June 6, 2001, that it had decided to pursue continued dialogue with North Korea on the full range of issues of concern to the Administration, including North Korea's conventional force posture, missile development and export programs, human rights practices, and humanitarian issues. In 2002, the Administration also became aware that North Korea was developing a uranium enrichment program for nuclear weapons purposes. U.S.-D.P.R.K. tensions mounted, when Bush categorized North Korea as part of the "Axis of Evil" in his 2002 State of the Union address.
When U.S.-D.P.R.K. direct dialogue resumed in October 2002, this uranium- enrichment program was high on the U.S. agenda. North Korean officials acknowledged to a U.S. delegation, headed by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James A. Kelly, the existence of the uranium enrichment program. Such a program violated North Korea's obligations under the NPT and its commitments in the 1992 North-South Denuclearization Declaration and the 1994 Agreed Framework. The U.S. side stated that North Korea would have to terminate the program before any further progress could be made in U.S.-D.P.R.K. relations. The U.S. side also made clear that if this program were verifiably eliminated, the U.S. would be prepared to work with North Korea on the development of a fundamentally new relationship. In November 2002, the members of KEDO agreed to suspend heavy fuel oil shipments to North Korea pending a resolution of the nuclear dispute.
In December 2002, Spanish troops boarded and detained a shipment of Scud missiles from North Korea destined for Yemen, at the United States' request. After two days, the United States released the ship to continue its shipment to Yemen. This further strained the relationship between the US and North Korea, with North Korea characterizing the boarding an "act of piracy".
In late 2002 and early 2003, North Korea terminated the freeze on its existing plutonium-based nuclear facilities, expelled IAEA inspectors and removed seals and monitoring equipment, quit the NPT, and resumed reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium for weapons purposes. North Korea subsequently announced that it was taking these steps to provide itself with a deterrent force in the face of U.S. threats and the U.S.' "hostile policy". Beginning in mid-2003, the North repeatedly claimed to have completed reprocessing of the spent fuel rods previously frozen at Yongbyon and later publicly said that the resulting fissile material would be used to bolster its "nuclear deterrent force". There is no independent confirmation of North Korea's claims.
President Bush has stated that the United States has no plans at this time to invade North Korea now or in the forseeable future. He also stated that the United States intends to make every effort to achieve a peaceful end to North Korea's nuclear program in cooperation with North Korea's neighbors, who have also expressed concern over the threat to regional stability and security they believe it poses. The Bush Administration's stated goal is the complete, verifiable, and irreversible elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. North Korea's neighbors have joined the United States in supporting a nuclear weapons-free Korean Peninsula.
In the last months of 2005, relations between the countries have been further strained by US allegations of North Korean counterfeiting of American dollars. The US alleges that North Korea produces $15 million worth of 'supernotes' every year, and has induced banks in Macau and elsewhere to end business with North Korea.
Six-party talks
: Six-party talks
In early 2003 multilateral talks were proposed to be held among the six most relevant parties aimed at reaching a settlement through diplomatic means. North Korea initially opposed such a process, maintaining that the nuclear dispute was purely a bilateral matter between themselves and the United States. However, under pressure from its neighbors and with the active involvement of the People's Republic of China, North Korea agreed to preliminary three-party talks with China and the United States in Beijing in April 2003.
After this meeting, North Korea then agreed to six-party talks, between the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia. The first round of talks was held in August 2003, with subsequent rounds being held at regular intervals. However, since the last round (5th round, 1st phase) was held in November 2005, North Korea has refused to return to the talks. This was in retaliation for the US freezing offshore North Korean bank accounts in Macau.
In early 2005, US government told its East Asia allies that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. This backfired when the Asia allies discovered that US government had concealed involvement of Pakistan; a key U.S. ally was the weapon's middle man. In March 2005, Condoleezza Rice had to travel to East Asia in an effort to repair the damage.
2006 nuclear test
U.S. intelligence agencies have been unable to confirm that a test has occurred, but are presently looking into the situation. Tony Snow, President George W. Bush’s White House Press Secretary, said that the United States would now go to the United Nations to determine “what our next steps should be in response to this very serious step.”President Bush stated in a televised speech Monday morning, that such a claim of a test is a "provocative act" and U.S condemns such acts. President Bush stated that the United States is "committed to diplomacy" but will "continue to protect [America] and [America's] interests."
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Default ADDITional information

now i am adding an article from newyork times.
all members are requested to contribute and share there knowledge in this regard especially from pakistani perspective.than


Test follows warning from U.N.
By David E. Sanger The New York Times

Published: October 9, 2006






WASHINGTON North Korea said Monday that it had set off its first nuclear test, becoming the eighth country in history, and arguably the most unstable and most dangerous, to proclaim that it has joined the club of nuclear weapons states.

The test came just two days after the country was warned by the United Nations Security Council that the action could lead to severe consequences.

American officials cautioned that they had not yet received any confirmation that the test had occurred. The United States Geological Survey said it had detected a tremor of 4.2 magnitude on the Korean Peninsula.

China called the test a "flagrant and brazen" violation of international opinion and said it "firmly opposes" North Korea's conduct.

Senior Bush administration officials said that they had little reason to doubt the announcement, and warned that the test would usher in a new era of confrontation with the isolated and unpredictable country run by President Kim Jong-il.

Early Monday morning, even before the test was confirmed, Bush administration officials were holding conference calls to discuss ways to further cut off a country that is already subject to sanctions, and hard-liners said the moment had arrived for neighboring countries, especially China and Russia, to cut off the trade and oil supplies that have been Kim's lifeline.

In South Korea, the country that fought a bloody war with the North for three years and has lived with an uneasy truce and failed efforts at reconciliation for more than half a century, officials said they believed that an explosion occurred around 10:36 p.m. New York time - 11:36 a.m. Monday in Korea.

They identified the source of the explosion as North Hamgyong Province, roughly the area where American spy satellites have been focused for several years on a variety of suspected underground test sites.

That was less than an hour after North Korean officials had called their counterparts in China and warned them that a test was just minutes away. The Chinese, who have been North Korea's main ally for 60 years but have grown increasingly frustrated by the its defiance of Beijing, sent an emergency alert to Washington through the United States Embassy in Beijing. Within minutes, President Bush was notified, shortly after 10 p.m., by his national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, that a test was imminent.

North Korea's decision to conduct the test demonstrated what the world has suspected for years: the country has joined India, Pakistan and Israel as one of the world's "undeclared" nuclear powers. India and Pakistan conducted tests in 1998; Israel has never acknowledged conducting a test or possessing a weapon. But by actually setting off a weapon, if that is proven, the North has chosen to end years of carefully crafted and diplomatically useful ambiguity about its abilities.

The North's decision to set off a nuclear device could profoundly change the politics of Asia.

The test occurred only a week after Japan installed a new, more nationalistic prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and just as the country was renewing a debate about whether its ban on possessing nuclear weapons - deeply felt in a country that saw two of its cities incinerated in 1945 - still makes strategic sense.

And it shook the peninsula just as Abe was arriving in South Korea for the first time as prime minister, in an effort to repair a badly strained relationship, having just visited with Chinese leaders in Beijing. It places his untested administration in the midst of one of the region's biggest security crises in years, and one whose outcome will be watched closely in Iran and other states suspected of attempting to follow the path that North Korea has taken.

Now, Tokyo and Washington are expected to put even more pressure on the South Korean government to terminate its "sunshine policy" of trade, tourism and openings to the North - a policy that has been the source of enormous tension between Seoul and Washington since Bush took office.

The explosion was the product of nearly four decades of work by North Korea, one of the world's poorest and most isolated countries. The nation of 23 million people appears constantly fearful that its far richer, more powerful neighbors - and particularly the United States - will try to unseat its leadership. The country's founder, Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, emerged from the Korean War determined to equal the power of the United States, and acutely aware that Gen. Douglas MacArthur had requested nuclear weapons to use against his country.

But it took decades to put together the technology, and only in the past few years has the North appeared to have made a political decision to speed forward. "I think they just had their military plan to demonstrate that no one could mess with them, and they weren't going to be deterred, not even by the Chinese," a senior American official who deals with the North said late Sunday evening. "In the end, there was just no stopping them."

But the explosion was also the product of more than two decades of diplomatic failure, spread over at least three presidencies. American spy satellites saw the North building a good-size nuclear reactor in the early 1980's, and by the early 1990's the C.I.A. estimated that the country could have one or two nuclear weapons. But a series of diplomatic efforts to "freeze" the nuclear program - including a 1994 accord signed with the Clinton administration - ultimately broke down, amid distrust and recriminations on both sides.

Three years ago, just as President Bush was sending American troops toward Iraq, the North threw out the few remaining weapons inspectors living at their nuclear complex in Yongbyon, and moved 8,000 nuclear fuel rods they had kept under lock and key. Those rods contained enough plutonium, experts said, to produce five or six nuclear weapons, though it is unclear how many the North now stockpiles.

For years, some diplomats assumed that the North was using that ambiguity to trade away its nuclear capability, for recognition, security guarantees, aid and trade with the West. But in the end, the country's reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il, who inherited the mantle of leadership from his father, still called the "Great Leader," appears to have concluded that the surest way of getting what he seeks is to demonstrate that he has the capability to strike back if attacked.

Assessing the nature of that ability is difficult. If the test occurred as the North claimed, it is unclear whether it was an actual bomb or a more primitive device. Some experts cautioned that it could try to fake an explosion, setting off conventional explosives; the only way to know for sure will be if American "sniffer" planes, patrolling the North Korean coast, pick up evidence of nuclear byproducts in the air.

Even then, it is not clear that the North could fabricate that bomb into a weapon that could fit atop its missiles, one of the country's few significant exports.

But the big fear about North Korea, American officials have long said, has less to do with its ability to lash out than it does with its proclivity to proliferate. The country has sold its missiles and other weapons to Iran, Syria and Pakistan; at various moments in the six-party talks that have gone on for the past few years, North Korean representatives have threatened to sell nuclear weapons. But in a statement issued last week, announcing that it intends to set off a test, the country said it would not sell its nuclear products.

The fear of proliferation prompted President Bush to declare in 2003 that the United States would never "tolerate" a nuclear-armed North Korea. He has never defined what he means by "tolerate," and on Sunday night Tony Snow, Bush's press secretary, said that, assuming the report of the test is accurate, the United States would now go to the United Nations to determine "what our next steps should be in response to this very serious step."

Nuclear testing is often considered a necessary step to proving a weapon's reliability as well as the most forceful way for a nation to declare its status as a nuclear power.

"Once they do that, it's serious," said Harold M. Agnew, a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory, which designed most of the nation's nuclear arms. "Otherwise, the North Koreans are just jerking us around."

Networks of seismometers that detect faint trembles in the earth and track distant rumbles are the best way to spot an underground nuclear test.

The big challenge is to distinguish the signatures of earthquakes from those of nuclear blasts. Typically, the shock waves from nuclear explosions begin with a sharp spike as earth and rock are compressed violently. The signal then tends to become fuzzier as surface rumblings and shudders and after shocks create seismologic mayhem.

With earthquakes, it is usually the opposite. A gentle jostling suddenly becomes much bigger and more violent.

Most of the world's seismic networks that look for nuclear blasts are designed to detect explosions as small as one kiloton, or equal to 1,000 tons of high explosives. On instruments for detecting earthquakes, such a blast would measure a magnitude of about 4, like a small tremor.

Philip E. Coyle III, a former head of weapons testing at the Pentagon and former director of nuclear testing for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a weapons-design center in California, said the North Koreans could learn much from a nuclear test even if it was small by world standards or less than an unqualified success.

"It would not be totally surprising if it was a fizzle and they said it was a success because they learned something," he said. "We did that sometimes. We had a missile defense test not so long ago that failed, but the Pentagon said it was a success because they learned something, which I agree with. Failures can teach you a lot."

William J. Broad contributed reporting from New York, and Thom Shanker from Washington.
WASHINGTON North Korea said Monday that it had set off its first nuclear test, becoming the eighth country in history, and arguably the most unstable and most dangerous, to proclaim that it has joined the club of nuclear weapons states.

The test came just two days after the country was warned by the United Nations Security Council that the action could lead to severe consequences.

American officials cautioned that they had not yet received any confirmation that the test had occurred. The United States Geological Survey said it had detected a tremor of 4.2 magnitude on the Korean Peninsula.

China called the test a "flagrant and brazen" violation of international opinion and said it "firmly opposes" North Korea's conduct.

Senior Bush administration officials said that they had little reason to doubt the announcement, and warned that the test would usher in a new era of confrontation with the isolated and unpredictable country run by President Kim Jong-il.

Early Monday morning, even before the test was confirmed, Bush administration officials were holding conference calls to discuss ways to further cut off a country that is already subject to sanctions, and hard-liners said the moment had arrived for neighboring countries, especially China and Russia, to cut off the trade and oil supplies that have been Kim's lifeline.

In South Korea, the country that fought a bloody war with the North for three years and has lived with an uneasy truce and failed efforts at reconciliation for more than half a century, officials said they believed that an explosion occurred around 10:36 p.m. New York time - 11:36 a.m. Monday in Korea.

They identified the source of the explosion as North Hamgyong Province, roughly the area where American spy satellites have been focused for several years on a variety of suspected underground test sites.

That was less than an hour after North Korean officials had called their counterparts in China and warned them that a test was just minutes away. The Chinese, who have been North Korea's main ally for 60 years but have grown increasingly frustrated by the its defiance of Beijing, sent an emergency alert to Washington through the United States Embassy in Beijing. Within minutes, President Bush was notified, shortly after 10 p.m., by his national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, that a test was imminent.

North Korea's decision to conduct the test demonstrated what the world has suspected for years: the country has joined India, Pakistan and Israel as one of the world's "undeclared" nuclear powers. India and Pakistan conducted tests in 1998; Israel has never acknowledged conducting a test or possessing a weapon. But by actually setting off a weapon, if that is proven, the North has chosen to end years of carefully crafted and diplomatically useful ambiguity about its abilities.

The North's decision to set off a nuclear device could profoundly change the politics of Asia.

The test occurred only a week after Japan installed a new, more nationalistic prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and just as the country was renewing a debate about whether its ban on possessing nuclear weapons - deeply felt in a country that saw two of its cities incinerated in 1945 - still makes strategic sense.

And it shook the peninsula just as Abe was arriving in South Korea for the first time as prime minister, in an effort to repair a badly strained relationship, having just visited with Chinese leaders in Beijing. It places his untested administration in the midst of one of the region's biggest security crises in years, and one whose outcome will be watched closely in Iran and other states suspected of attempting to follow the path that North Korea has taken.

Now, Tokyo and Washington are expected to put even more pressure on the South Korean government to terminate its "sunshine policy" of trade, tourism and openings to the North - a policy that has been the source of enormous tension between Seoul and Washington since Bush took office.

The explosion was the product of nearly four decades of work by North Korea, one of the world's poorest and most isolated countries. The nation of 23 million people appears constantly fearful that its far richer, more powerful neighbors - and particularly the United States - will try to unseat its leadership. The country's founder, Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, emerged from the Korean War determined to equal the power of the United States, and acutely aware that Gen. Douglas MacArthur had requested nuclear weapons to use against his country.

But it took decades to put together the technology, and only in the past few years has the North appeared to have made a political decision to speed forward. "I think they just had their military plan to demonstrate that no one could mess with them, and they weren't going to be deterred, not even by the Chinese," a senior American official who deals with the North said late Sunday evening. "In the end, there was just no stopping them."

But the explosion was also the product of more than two decades of diplomatic failure, spread over at least three presidencies. American spy satellites saw the North building a good-size nuclear reactor in the early 1980's, and by the early 1990's the C.I.A. estimated that the country could have one or two nuclear weapons. But a series of diplomatic efforts to "freeze" the nuclear program - including a 1994 accord signed with the Clinton administration - ultimately broke down, amid distrust and recriminations on both sides.

Three years ago, just as President Bush was sending American troops toward Iraq, the North threw out the few remaining weapons inspectors living at their nuclear complex in Yongbyon, and moved 8,000 nuclear fuel rods they had kept under lock and key. Those rods contained enough plutonium, experts said, to produce five or six nuclear weapons, though it is unclear how many the North now stockpiles.

For years, some diplomats assumed that the North was using that ambiguity to trade away its nuclear capability, for recognition, security guarantees, aid and trade with the West. But in the end, the country's reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il, who inherited the mantle of leadership from his father, still called the "Great Leader," appears to have concluded that the surest way of getting what he seeks is to demonstrate that he has the capability to strike back if attacked.

Assessing the nature of that ability is difficult. If the test occurred as the North claimed, it is unclear whether it was an actual bomb or a more primitive device. Some experts cautioned that it could try to fake an explosion, setting off conventional explosives; the only way to know for sure will be if American "sniffer" planes, patrolling the North Korean coast, pick up evidence of nuclear byproducts in the air.

Even then, it is not clear that the North could fabricate that bomb into a weapon that could fit atop its missiles, one of the country's few significant exports.

But the big fear about North Korea, American officials have long said, has less to do with its ability to lash out than it does with its proclivity to proliferate. The country has sold its missiles and other weapons to Iran, Syria and Pakistan; at various moments in the six-party talks that have gone on for the past few years, North Korean representatives have threatened to sell nuclear weapons. But in a statement issued last week, announcing that it intends to set off a test, the country said it would not sell its nuclear products.

The fear of proliferation prompted President Bush to declare in 2003 that the United States would never "tolerate" a nuclear-armed North Korea. He has never defined what he means by "tolerate," and on Sunday night Tony Snow, Bush's press secretary, said that, assuming the report of the test is accurate, the United States would now go to the United Nations to determine "what our next steps should be in response to this very serious step."

Nuclear testing is often considered a necessary step to proving a weapon's reliability as well as the most forceful way for a nation to declare its status as a nuclear power.

"Once they do that, it's serious," said Harold M. Agnew, a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory, which designed most of the nation's nuclear arms. "Otherwise, the North Koreans are just jerking us around."

Networks of seismometers that detect faint trembles in the earth and track distant rumbles are the best way to spot an underground nuclear test.

The big challenge is to distinguish the signatures of earthquakes from those of nuclear blasts. Typically, the shock waves from nuclear explosions begin with a sharp spike as earth and rock are compressed violently. The signal then tends to become fuzzier as surface rumblings and shudders and after shocks create seismologic mayhem.

With earthquakes, it is usually the opposite. A gentle jostling suddenly becomes much bigger and more violent.

Most of the world's seismic networks that look for nuclear blasts are designed to detect explosions as small as one kiloton, or equal to 1,000 tons of high explosives. On instruments for detecting earthquakes, such a blast would measure a magnitude of about 4, like a small tremor.

Philip E. Coyle III, a former head of weapons testing at the Pentagon and former director of nuclear testing for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a weapons-design center in California, said the North Koreans could learn much from a nuclear test even if it was small by world standards or less than an unqualified success.

"It would not be totally surprising if it was a fizzle and they said it was a success because they learned something," he said. "We did that sometimes. We had a missile defense test not so long ago that failed, but the Pentagon said it was a success because they learned something, which I agree with. Failures can teach you a lot."

William J. Broad contributed reporting from New York, and Thom Shanker from Washington.
WASHINGTON North Korea said Monday that it had set off its first nuclear test, becoming the eighth country in history, and arguably the most unstable and most dangerous, to proclaim that it has joined the club of nuclear weapons states.

The test came just two days after the country was warned by the United Nations Security Council that the action could lead to severe consequences.

American officials cautioned that they had not yet received any confirmation that the test had occurred. The United States Geological Survey said it had detected a tremor of 4.2 magnitude on the Korean Peninsula.

China called the test a "flagrant and brazen" violation of international opinion and said it "firmly opposes" North Korea's conduct.

Senior Bush administration officials said that they had little reason to doubt the announcement, and warned that the test would usher in a new era of confrontation with the isolated and unpredictable country run by President Kim Jong-il.

Early Monday morning, even before the test was confirmed, Bush administration officials were holding conference calls to discuss ways to further cut off a country that is already subject to sanctions, and hard-liners said the moment had arrived for neighboring countries, especially China and Russia, to cut off the trade and oil supplies that have been Kim's lifeline.

In South Korea, the country that fought a bloody war with the North for three years and has lived with an uneasy truce and failed efforts at reconciliation for more than half a century, officials said they believed that an explosion occurred around 10:36 p.m. New York time - 11:36 a.m. Monday in Korea.

They identified the source of the explosion as North Hamgyong Province, roughly the area where American spy satellites have been focused for several years on a variety of suspected underground test sites.

That was less than an hour after North Korean officials had called their counterparts in China and warned them that a test was just minutes away. The Chinese, who have been North Korea's main ally for 60 years but have grown increasingly frustrated by the its defiance of Beijing, sent an emergency alert to Washington through the United States Embassy in Beijing. Within minutes, President Bush was notified, shortly after 10 p.m., by his national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, that a test was imminent.

North Korea's decision to conduct the test demonstrated what the world has suspected for years: the country has joined India, Pakistan and Israel as one of the world's "undeclared" nuclear powers. India and Pakistan conducted tests in 1998; Israel has never acknowledged conducting a test or possessing a weapon. But by actually setting off a weapon, if that is proven, the North has chosen to end years of carefully crafted and diplomatically useful ambiguity about its abilities.

The North's decision to set off a nuclear device could profoundly change the politics of Asia.

The test occurred only a week after Japan installed a new, more nationalistic prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and just as the country was renewing a debate about whether its ban on possessing nuclear weapons - deeply felt in a country that saw two of its cities incinerated in 1945 - still makes strategic sense.

And it shook the peninsula just as Abe was arriving in South Korea for the first time as prime minister, in an effort to repair a badly strained relationship, having just visited with Chinese leaders in Beijing. It places his untested administration in the midst of one of the region's biggest security crises in years, and one whose outcome will be watched closely in Iran and other states suspected of attempting to follow the path that North Korea has taken.

Now, Tokyo and Washington are expected to put even more pressure on the South Korean government to terminate its "sunshine policy" of trade, tourism and openings to the North - a policy that has been the source of enormous tension between Seoul and Washington since Bush took office.

The explosion was the product of nearly four decades of work by North Korea, one of the world's poorest and most isolated countries. The nation of 23 million people appears constantly fearful that its far richer, more powerful neighbors - and particularly the United States - will try to unseat its leadership. The country's founder, Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, emerged from the Korean War determined to equal the power of the United States, and acutely aware that Gen. Douglas MacArthur had requested nuclear weapons to use against his country.

But it took decades to put together the technology, and only in the past few years has the North appeared to have made a political decision to speed forward. "I think they just had their military plan to demonstrate that no one could mess with them, and they weren't going to be deterred, not even by the Chinese," a senior American official who deals with the North said late Sunday evening. "In the end, there was just no stopping them."

But the explosion was also the product of more than two decades of diplomatic failure, spread over at least three presidencies. American spy satellites saw the North building a good-size nuclear reactor in the early 1980's, and by the early 1990's the C.I.A. estimated that the country could have one or two nuclear weapons. But a series of diplomatic efforts to "freeze" the nuclear program - including a 1994 accord signed with the Clinton administration - ultimately broke down, amid distrust and recriminations on both sides.

Three years ago, just as President Bush was sending American troops toward Iraq, the North threw out the few remaining weapons inspectors living at their nuclear complex in Yongbyon, and moved 8,000 nuclear fuel rods they had kept under lock and key. Those rods contained enough plutonium, experts said, to produce five or six nuclear weapons, though it is unclear how many the North now stockpiles.

For years, some diplomats assumed that the North was using that ambiguity to trade away its nuclear capability, for recognition, security guarantees, aid and trade with the West. But in the end, the country's reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il, who inherited the mantle of leadership from his father, still called the "Great Leader," appears to have concluded that the surest way of getting what he seeks is to demonstrate that he has the capability to strike back if attacked.

Assessing the nature of that ability is difficult. If the test occurred as the North claimed, it is unclear whether it was an actual bomb or a more primitive device. Some experts cautioned that it could try to fake an explosion, setting off conventional explosives; the only way to know for sure will be if American "sniffer" planes, patrolling the North Korean coast, pick up evidence of nuclear byproducts in the air.

Even then, it is not clear that the North could fabricate that bomb into a weapon that could fit atop its missiles, one of the country's few significant exports.

But the big fear about North Korea, American officials have long said, has less to do with its ability to lash out than it does with its proclivity to proliferate. The country has sold its missiles and other weapons to Iran, Syria and Pakistan; at various moments in the six-party talks that have gone on for the past few years, North Korean representatives have threatened to sell nuclear weapons. But in a statement issued last week, announcing that it intends to set off a test, the country said it would not sell its nuclear products.

The fear of proliferation prompted President Bush to declare in 2003 that the United States would never "tolerate" a nuclear-armed North Korea. He has never defined what he means by "tolerate," and on Sunday night Tony Snow, Bush's press secretary, said that, assuming the report of the test is accurate, the United States would now go to the United Nations to determine "what our next steps should be in response to this very serious step."

Nuclear testing is often considered a necessary step to proving a weapon's reliability as well as the most forceful way for a nation to declare its status as a nuclear power.

"Once they do that, it's serious," said Harold M. Agnew, a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory, which designed most of the nation's nuclear arms. "Otherwise, the North Koreans are just jerking us around."

Networks of seismometers that detect faint trembles in the earth and track distant rumbles are the best way to spot an underground nuclear test.

The big challenge is to distinguish the signatures of earthquakes from those of nuclear blasts. Typically, the shock waves from nuclear explosions begin with a sharp spike as earth and rock are compressed violently. The signal then tends to become fuzzier as surface rumblings and shudders and after shocks create seismologic mayhem.

With earthquakes, it is usually the opposite. A gentle jostling suddenly becomes much bigger and more violent.

Most of the world's seismic networks that look for nuclear blasts are designed to detect explosions as small as one kiloton, or equal to 1,000 tons of high explosives. On instruments for detecting earthquakes, such a blast would measure a magnitude of about 4, like a small tremor.

Philip E. Coyle III, a former head of weapons testing at the Pentagon and former director of nuclear testing for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a weapons-design center in California, said the North Koreans could learn much from a nuclear test even if it was small by world standards or less than an unqualified success.

"It would not be totally surprising if it was a fizzle and they said it was a success because they learned something," he said. "We did that sometimes. We had a missile defense test not so long ago that failed, but the Pentagon said it was a success because they learned something, which I agree with. Failures can teach you a lot."

William J. Broad contributed reporting from New York, and Thom Shanker from Washington.
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guys this year its very important issue so please write on it ...and prepare pak korea relations
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buddy ur post r the assets for all forum members.
u compel us 2 believe that the tenacity of purpose sin qua non 4 successs
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janab aap ka shukria.
ab app geo strategic location of pakistan bhi parhain.i insist.
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i dnt have much knowlegde abt it but ill mus say "U've done a Gud jOb" keep it up!!!
let ur articals come n let us read more n more...
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