Last updated 5/25/09 12:35 AM EST
South Korea’s cabinet is holding an emergency meeting this morning after it detected an “artificial earthquake” in North Korea, a sign that the nation may have conducted a test explosion of an atomic weapon.
Those fears were later confirmed by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA), which confirmed that the nation conducted its second underground nuclear test at approximately 10:00 am Monday local time (roughly 9 pm Sunday EST). The seismic activity detected was similar to the October 2006 test. The South Korean stock exchange plummeted over the news. The Japanese market lost some of its gains as well.
Yet the news was not entirely shocking, as South Korean officials said they had detected “brisk” activity at the nation’s nuclear test site earlier this month. Japan’s Foreign Ministry has promised to respond responsibly, while the European Union termed the test “worrying.”
North Korea pulled out of 6-party talks last month after the United Nations condemned them for what they claimed was a satellite launch but which the West dubbed a “missile test.” The nation ordered International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors out and said it was preparing new nuclear tests.