Rice pledges “full range” of US security commitment to defend Japan in light of North Korea’s nuclear weapons test. Tokyo will not develop own bomb

debkafile: Although one of the main goals of the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s tour of Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Moscow is to draw a line against a nuclear race developing in Asia, she cannot be sure of success, even with regard to Japan.
Tuesday, war tensions shot up over N. Korea’s suspected preparation for second nuclear test. US nuclear envoy Christopher Hill said in Seoul it would be “a belligerent act” after Pyongyang said UN sanctions amounted to a declaration of war, staging a spectacular display of might in a massive candlelit parade of tens of thousands of marchers, dancers and singers with fireworks to mark its 80th “Anti-Imperialism Anniversary.”
US spy satellites have picked up suggestive vehicle movements of a new test at the site of the first; South Korea has seen intelligence pointers and Japan also reports information, but none have confirmation.
North Korea’s foreign ministry warned of “merciless” blows against any country infringing its sovereignty, denouncing the UN’s sanctions resolution as a declaration of war. US intelligence says air samples confirm North Korea did conduct its first nuclear test last Monday, Oct. 9.
China inspected cargo trucks at North Korean border crossing Monday but refused to say whether its searches were prompted by UN sanctions.
debkafile: Beijng’s action was no more than a token gesture of compliance with the UN sanctions order Saturday. No one really suspected the North Korean trucks of carrying nuclear or weapons cargoes.

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