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After the bomb

What does North Korea's nuclear test mean for the country's neighbours?

By Mark Fitzpatrick   October 2006

North Korea’s nuclear test alters the balance of power in northeast Asia. In every other field—economics, culture, diplomacy, biotechnology and IT, to name a few—the gap between the impoverished citizens of Kim Jong-Il’s regime and their world-class southern kinsmen could hardly be greater. The north’s ageing conventional military capabilities have also fallen far behind the south. But now North Korea boasts of possessing the ultimate equaliser. The suggestion that the explosion was merely a large quantity of TNT cannot be dismissed entirely without air sampling data, but it is implausible that North Korea would fake what was a technical failure…

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