North Korea is waiting to find out what reprisals it could face after its claims yesterday of having carried out its first nuclear test. The United Nations Security Council is considering a tough draft resolution. The proposals entail strict financial and trade sanctions.
Some analysts have speculated that North Korea’s leader may have been hoping to force the US to end its crackdown on the country and bring about one-to-one negotiations. If so, the nuclear claims could have backfired as the US is at the forefront of calls for harsh punitive action. Washington’s chief negotiator with Pyongyang said he wanted to make the communist state regret what it had done. To date though, it still isn’t clear exactly what kind of device was exploded underground. It could take up to two weeks to confirm. In the meantime the North’s neighbours are on a heightened state of alert.
China, Pyongyang’s closest ally, has said the test will have a negative impact on their relations. But so far, it has not approved sanctions. Many see Beijing as key to resolving the crisis, possibly forcing North Korea back to disarmament talks. It is, however, taking no chances, cancelling the leave of troops along its border with the renegade nation.