The test, the North’s second, follows years of on-off negotiations with regional powers, which have been pressing the impoverished state to give up its nuclear ambitions in return for massive aid and an end to the country’s pariah status Reuters reports.
Ratcheting up tensions further,
The UN Security Council would hold an emergency meeting later on Monday in the wake of the nuclear test,
It added that the underground test “was safely conducted on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology of its control.”
The US Geological Survey said it had detected a 4.7-magnitude quake in an area close to where the test site is thought to be.
However, as with the first nuclear test by the communist state in October 2006, it could take some time before the outside world is able to gauge how successful it was. The first one was seen as only a partial success.
The news knocked South Korean financial markets, with the main share index dropping 4 percent at one stage and the won falling more than 1 percent against the dollar on fears the test would raise tension in a region which accounts for one-sixth of the global economy.
South Korean financial markets later recovered much of their earlier losses as investors bet that any direct impact on markets would be short-lived unless there was actual military conflict.
Market reaction elsewhere was limited, with safe-haven gold prices falling slightly on the day and
“The reported test appears to be aimed at securing ultimate endorsement of its nuclear power status from the
“It could increase investor concerns about
However, several analysts said they expected the impact on financial markets to be short-lived.
Following the added sanctions,
Some analysts have said the test may also be aimed at boosting the position at home of leader Kim Jong-il, who is widely believed to have suffered a stroke last year.
Several say Kim, who succeeded his father to create the world’s first communist dynasty, may be trying to secure the succession for one of his three sons and that a nuclear test in defiance of world opinion could help him win support from his hardline military to do so.
“One has to wonder if this is part of the internal political transition that may be occurring inside