US says can't confirm 2nd nuke test

Updated: 2006-10-11 13:52
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Diplomacy sought over nuclear test
Firm, prudent response needed, UN envoy says

'We see eye to eye on nuke danger'

The United States said on Tuesday that it can't confirm a report by Japanese national broadcaster NHK that North Korea has conducted a second nuclear test.

US says can't confirm 2nd nuke test
North Korean soldiers march towards a border line at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, about 55 km (31 miles) north of Seoul, October 11, 2006. [Reuters]

"We have no confirmation of a second test," White House spokesman Blair Jones said.

"We will continue to monitor the situation closely, together with allies," he added.

Earlier, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Maka, spokesman for the Pentagon, said the US detected no seismic activity indicating a second nuclear test by North Korea.

"We have no credible evidence" of a second test "and no seismic activity has been detected," said Maka.

The US Geological Survey also said it was still checking reports on new seismic activity in the country on Wednesday.

"So far, do not see any event in North Korea," said USGS official Bruce Presgrave.
"There very definitely was an earthquake in Japan. We see one magnitude-5.8 at this time. There could have been other events in Japan that are smaller, we're still checking."

South Korea and Japan also denied any seismic activity had been detected to confirm a second test.

A spokesman for the South Korean presidential office said, "So far we have not received reports of fresh seismic activity."

Japan's meteorological agency said Wednesday that it had not detected any seismic activity.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday that he has no information to confirm whether North Korea has conducted another nuclear test, Kyodo News said.

A spokeswoman at the Japanese prime minister office also denied the report, saying that "we have had no information on the report yet."

Earlier on Wednesday, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported that the Japanese government was trying to confirm whether North Korea has performed another nuclear test following its claimed one Monday.

North Korea announced on Monday that it had conducted a successful underground nuclear test.

China calls for diplomatic efforts

China called Tuesday for diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis caused by a nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and ruled out military action as punishment.

"The international community and the United Nations should take positive and appropriate measures that will help the process of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news briefing.

"Any action towards the DPRK should be beneficial to the denuclearization of the peninsula, peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the resumption of the Six-Party Talks."

He said China does not endorse any military action against the DPRK, calling it "unimaginable."

"We are firmly against that."

Liu said China was conferring with other UN Security Council members over possible next steps.

He defended the Six-Party Talks, aimed at making the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, saying Monday's nuclear test "should not be regarded as a failure of China's foreign policy or a failure of the Six-Party mechanism."

"Facts have proved that the Six-Party Talks are the best way to resolve the issue," Liu said.

"The concerned parties should continue to generate efforts to keep the mechanism on track."

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