Test or no test?

9 October 2006, 0325 EDT

I assume we’ll be closer to an answer when I get up.

The North Korean news agency KCNA says its country has successfully conducted an underground nuclear test.

“Our science research section has safely and successfully conducted an underground nuclear test on October, 9,” it said.

It added that there was no leak or danger from the test.

There are no more details at this stage.

The South Korean News Agency Yonhap is also carrying reports that Pyongyang may have carried out the test.

Neither US intelligence sources nor South Korean defence officials can confirm at this stage that a test has taken place.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is reported to have called an emergency meeting to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue.

“The meeting comes as there has been a grave change in the situation involving the North’s nuclear activity,” the agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Choo Kyu-Ho as saying.

He refused to go into further detail.

But another ranking foreign ministry official quoted by Yonhap confirmed that the government received intelligence that North Korea appeared to have already carried out a nuclear test.

“The government is trying to check the intelligence,” the official said, asking not to be named.

“We are not in a position to confirm such a report,’ a South Korean defence ministry spokesman told AFP.

Either way, not good.

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