The international community is debating how to react to North Korea’s claim that it has carried out its first nuclear test. Members of the UN Security Council are discussing a resolution drafted by Washington. Calling for a swift response against North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il, the US is pushing for international inspections of all cargo moving into and out of the country, to search for weapons-related material.
It also wants a ban on the transfer or development of weapons of mass destruction, and a freeze on imports of luxury goods. Japan is calling for even stricter measures, including a ban on North Korean ships and planes from all ports if they carry nuclear or ballistic missile-related material. China is not ruling out the possibility of backing UN sanctions, but says any military action would be “unimaginable”.
South Korea plans to review its “sunshine policy” of engagement with its neighbour, after being accused of being too soft. Whatever is proposed, some countries, including Japan, are insisting there needs to be confirmation of whether the reported test actually took place.