Today the South Korean seismic monitoring center confirmed that tremors felt at the time of an alleged nuclear test in the north were not a natural occurrence. Later, the North Korean Central News Agency stated that an underground test was performed successfully.
The test places the world into a very precarious position, even though North Korea hasn't shown the ability to launch their weapons further than the immediate vicinity. Nonetheless, a nuclear strike on South Korea or Japan could be a consideration by the communist dictator.
The U.S. plans to push for stronger punitive measures, though they state that the explosion was smaller than the North Koreans desired.
North Korea has disregarded all international resolutions designed to stop this event, and has proven that they cannot be trusted. Their excuse is that the reason they built the bomb is that they feared U.S. invasion.
Their interest in building a nuclear weapon goes back to the years Clinton was in office, violating an agreement signed during that administration. Japan's Prime Minister has arrived in South Korea to discuss the situation with the South Korean leaders, stating that the nuclear test was absolutely unacceptable. The South Korean President also has conferred with President Bush on the phone over this already.
This situation has huge global implications, especially where it concerns the Middle East. How we respond to this will dictate Iran's nuclear aspirations. If we sit and take little action, Iran will pursue reaching the same level of nuclear capabilities with little worry of retribution from the west. Surprisingly, there is word that China warned the U.S. of the test 20 minutes before it occurred. I wonder if China will be a reliable partner in dealing with North Korea. Probably not.
Sanctions imposed by the U.N. security council are likely, but will unlikely deter North Korea from any further tests.