North Korea is facing strict sanctions from Japan following its claimed nuclear weapon test. Tokyo is to impose trading embargoes including barring all North Korean ships, imports and nationals from entering Japan. But Pyongyang remains defiant, claiming through national news broadcasts that pressure, particularly from the US, would be tantamount to a declaration of war.
The country’s number two in command, Kim Yong-nam, has said hostile US policy will dictate whether more tests are carried out. He also dismissed the latest sanction threats, saying his country had always managed without Japan’s help. There is still doubt about whether Monday’s explosion was indeed the detonation of an atomic device.
Scientists believe it may never be possible to determine. But they say if it was a real nuclear test, then it failed. Neighbouring South Korea is strongly condemning the test. Chief nuclear negoitator Chun Yung Woo said: “North Korea’s nuclear testing would be extremely unfortunate for their own future as well as for the peace and security of the entire region.”
Tensions are rising in the region. Protesters in South Korea have been showing their opposition to their neighbour’s defiance of UN warnings. The Security Council hopes a resolution can be adopted by Friday on an array of weapons-related and financial sanctions.