May 26, 2009 10:56
North Korea notified China and the United States of its plan for the second nuclear test on Monday, a senior government official told reporters Monday. "As far as we know, North Korea informed the United States of its impending second nuclear test just before it was carried out. It seems the test took place immediately afterwards so that the U.S. did not have time to notify us," the official said. A diplomatic source said the North informed China as well.
But when exactly North Korea told the two countries of its plan is unclear. In the first nuclear test in October 2006, North Korea notified China just an hour before the test, causing subtle tension between the two countries.
The North's decision seems to be motivated by a strategic judgment, in expectations of pressure by the international community to slap sanctions on North Korea. When the North reported the launch of a long-distance rocket last month to relevant international organizations, it emphasized that the U.S. and China had been notified in advance and the launch was therefore legal. But a South Korean official said, "Giving advance notice will not lessen sanctions that will be imposed on North Korea."
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