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January 4, 2007
Kim Testing Again?

ABC News is reporting tonight that Kim Jong-Il has prepared for a new nuclear test. According to their sources, North Korea has "everything in place":

North Korea appears to have made preparations for another nuclear test, according to U.S. defense officials.

"We think they've put everything in place to conduct a test without any notice or warning," a senior U.S. defense official told ABC News.

The official cautions that the intelligence is inconclusive as to whether North Korea will actually go ahead with another test but said the preparations are similar to the steps taken by Pyongyang before it shocked the world by conducting its first nuclear test last Oct. 9.

Two other senior defense officials confirmed that recent intelligence suggested that the North Koreans appear to be ready to test a nuclear weapon again, but the intelligence community divides over whether another test is likely.

The equipment apparently has gone to the same region as their nuclear test in October, P'onggye. Analysts have seen some of the same activity in the area and are convinced that Kim could conduct another nuclear test within the next 60-90 days. Whether he intends to do so remains a point of contention, even among ABC's sources.

Kim and China had better be prepared to reap the whirlwind if he does. The UN will not be able to contain the counterreaction to another Pyongyang nuclear test. Japan will tilt further towards militarization and nuclearization, and the US relationship with Taiwan will get re-evaluated in light of the Korean threat. Even South Korea, with its inclination towards appeasement, has already begun to acknowledge the threat Kim poses, and will be forced to do so even further.

China may wind up with no choice but to consider its options for Kim's removal. Kim undoubtedly knows this. We'll see what happens.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 4, 2007 10:13 PM

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Tracked on January 5, 2007 1:57 PM


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