What is suppose to happen Tuesday morning?
October 16, 2006 11:19pm CST
I caught the tail end of a news report that said something major was going to happen Tuesday morning. I am assuming whatever "it" is has to do with N. Korea. Does anyone know?
• United States
17 Oct 06
WASHINGTON - U.S. spy agencies confirmed North Korea's nuclear test on Monday, even as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared that U.N. sanctions prove the world is united in opposing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. Such strong opposition should be a warning to Iran, too, said Rice, who is leaving Tuesday morning for an Asian trip that is expected to be dominated by the nuclear issue. She will visit Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. Providing the government's first definitive confirmation that North Korea detonated a nuclear device one week ago, National Intelligence Director John Negroponte's office said in a statement that air samples collected on Wednesday showed evidence of radioactivity. That verified North Korea's claims. "The explosion yield was less than a kiloton," the statement said, smaller than many experts had expected. Each kiloton is equal to the force produced by 1,000 tons of TNT. An intelligence official said the North Korean device was believed to be roughly the equivalent of 200 tons of TNT, suggesting to analysts that it was probably a partial failure. Experts in and out of government had anticipated a detonation of at least several thousand tons. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive situation with Pyongyang. At the State Department, Rice said the world "has responded calmly and firmly" to the test. "North Korea cannot endanger the world and then expect other nations to conduct business as usual in arms or missile parts," Rice said, previewing her message for the Asia trip. "It cannot destabilize the international system and then expect to exploit elaborate financial networks built for peaceful commerce." She said Iran _ another government accused of running an illicit nuclear program _ should pay attention to the global reaction. That would include the U.N. Security Council's sanctions adopted on Saturday, aimed at making life difficult for the North Korean government and its weapons proliferation business. "The Iranian government is watching, and it can now see that the international community will respond to threats from nuclear proliferation," said Rice, who added that she believes the Security Council will begin working on a sanctions resolution against Iran this week. "The Iranian government should consider the course that it is on." The United States, North Korea and seven other nations are now believed to have nuclear arms. Yet North Korea's unpredictable behavior and its history of trading weapons and components makes its nuclear advancements particularly worrisome to its neighbors and the international community. The U.S.-sponsored United Nations resolution on North Korea demands that Pyongyang eliminate nuclear weapons. But it also rules out military action against the country, as the Russians and Chinese demanded. It calls on countries to block North Korea from receiving equipment or materials to build weapons of mass destruction and other advanced weaponry. It also would clamp down on travel for North Koreans involved in the weapons program and freeze many of the international assets of people or businesses connected to that program. After the resolution was unanimously passed, North Korea's U.N. ambassador accused council members of a "gangster-like" action that neglects the nuclear threat posed by the United States. Rice acknowledged international concerns of escalating the crisis and said she would address that on her trip. Countries in the region worry that the collapse of North Korea's government could send millions of refugees streaming toward their borders. South Koreans also worry about a conventional attack by their neighbor. "We have no desire to ratchet up conflict," Rice said. "But we'll have some discussions on precisely how this will be carried out." While China has been inspecting cargo trucks headed for its communist ally, its U.N. ambassador indicated its inspectors will not board ships to search for suspicious equipment or material, raising questions about how strictly it and South Korea will enforce the U.N. resolution. Both countries have significant trade relations with North Korea, whose economy is perpetually on the verge of collapse. "Actions are more powerful than words, and we expect the actions will be powerful," White House spokesman Tony Snow said. Many in the U.S. government would not be surprised if North Korea were to attempt a second nuclear test sometime soon. The decision to test is considered a political one, and officials say North Korea will be monitoring action at the United Nations and elsewhere. Rice said a new test "would further deepen the isolation of North Korea." A key clue on the nature of North Korea's nuclear detonation _ its first _ came from air samples collected by the Air Force's WC-135 Constant Phoenix, a jet designed to collect particles and gases after a nuclear test. Samples are rushed back to labs in the United States for study before they lose their radioactive properties. The first reading last Tuesday was negative, but a test on a second sample collected Wednesday was positive, according to the intelligence official. When scientists evaluate air samples, they are looking for the presence of certain materials and gasses such as xenon, which is released after the fission of uranium or plutonium. While xenon is one indicator, "you'd like to get a leakage where you have many more fission products _ mixed in with plutonium or highly enriched uranium," said David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security and a former U.N. weapons inspector. U.S. intelligence has concluded that the North Korean device likely used plutonium. Albright, who has followed North Korea's program for two decades, believes its scientists are trying to miniaturize a nuclear device to put it atop a missile. While the test was likely a partial fizzle, those scientists may not have been after a large nuclear blast, he said. "It doesn't mean that it failed by any means," Albright said. "If it failed, you would see no yield at all."