Jeffrey LewisNorth Korean Nuclear Test?

By now, you’ve probably heard that the DPRK has announced its intention to conduct a nuclear test. (The BBC has a translation of the Korean statement; the original is here.)

The money line is:

The DPRK Foreign Ministry is authorized to solemnly declare … the DPRK will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed.

Anyway, I recently blogged the GoogleEarth coordinates of the P’unggye-yok site in North Hamgyong province, which often suggested as probable test location—strangely, at the PIIC meeting in Xiamen, one of the presenters expressed doubt that North Korea would test there because of the extensive mushroom crop, which provides significant hard currency earnings and is harvested from late August to early October.

Hard to know where to go with this joke:

A. Guess harvest time is over,
B. Those must be REALLY BIG mushrooms,
C. Something about the effects of eating the mushrooms, or
D. Obligatory mushroom cloud joke.

Lots of options there.

Anywho, the MSM has a pair of decent write-ups by Anthony Faiola and Robin Wright in the Washington Post and Choe Sang-Hun and John O’Neil in the New York Times

Anyway, it was auspicious timing for MTA, which this morning had Dave Kang, Associate Professor in the Government Department at Dartmouth, here to talk about North Korea and its nuclear program. I hope we have a little more from Dave later today.

I, at least, have always been a little surprised that the North Koreans didn’t pull this move earlier—if they really plan to pull it.

I was suckered into the Sanger story a year or so back in part because I see the argument—if you are Kim Jong-il and displeased with the prospects for Six Party Talks—for hitting the old “reset” button the game console.

But let’s see.

Paul Adds: Jeffrey does not read this blog.