USA / Nordkorea

Ver­i­fy­ing North Kore­an Nuke Test Will Take Time, Offi­cial Says

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2009 — It will take time before U.S. and inter­na­tion­al offi­cials can know with some cer­ti­tude whether North Korea con­duct­ed an under­ground nuclear-device test yes­ter­day, a senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cial said here today.
Pen­ta­gon spokesman Bryan Whit­man told reporters that it’s too ear­ly to have defin­i­tive knowl­edge regard­ing yesterday’s pur­port­ed North Kore­an under­ground nuclear test.

I sus­pect that some of the details that you’re look­ing for that more tight­ly define the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the event will come out like they did a cou­ple of years ago, but that takes some time,” Whit­man said. “If you go back to 2006, I think the [Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence] did some­thing after there was suf­fi­cient time to col­lect the nec­es­sary evi­dence to be able to make a defin­i­tive state­ment.”

North Korea’s nuclear device and bal­lis­tic-mis­sile activ­i­ties “pose a great threat to the peace and secu­ri­ty of the world and I strong­ly con­demn their reck­less action,” Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma told reporters yes­ter­day at the White House.

The Unit­ed States and inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions are work­ing togeth­er to con­struct an assess­ment of North Korea’s most-recent pur­port­ed nuclear test, Whit­man said.

It’s believed that North Korea car­ried out its first under­ground nuclear test in Octo­ber 2006. North Korea also has con­duct­ed sev­er­al mis­sile and rock­et tests over the past decade; the most-recent was a long-range rock­et shot con­duct­ed in April.

Whit­man didn’t com­ment on news reports say­ing North Korea con­duct­ed short-range mis­sile tests today.

North Korea has con­duct­ed sev­er­al mis­sile tests over the past decade. In a high­ly pub­li­cized inci­dent, North Korea fired a mis­sile that passed over Japan in August 1998.

By Ger­ry J. Gilmore
Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice