Saturday, October 07, 2006

North Nuclear Test May Come On Sunday

Japan and the U.S. expressed concern that North Korea may test a nuclear weapon "as early as this weekend," although they have no concrete evidence that such a test is imminent, Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi said here. Tokyo and Washington agreed to prepare for any contingency and take a "firm stance" in dealing with the matter, Yachi told reporters after separate meetings with Deputy National Security Adviser Jack Crouch and Eric Edelman, undersecretary for policy at the Pentagon."We are very concerned about a nuclear test by North Korea (that) may come as early as this weekend," Yachi said. Pyongyang released a statement Tuesday threatening to conduct its first atomic test "in the future." Yachi said he and the U.S. officials believe Pyongyang may test a nuclear warhead this weekend, a scenario Crouch called "possible." But Yachi added there was no specific evidence, other than the North vow. "Given that North Korea issued such a statement, it must be quite prepared. . . . So there is a possibility," Yachi said. Speculation is rising that Pyongyang may choose Sunday, the anniversary of Kim Jong Il's appointment as head of the Workers Party of Korea in 1997, as the date for a test.