North Korea has apparently detonated an underground test of a nuclear weapon. The blast, detected by earthquake monitoring stations, has been labelled “brazen, unpardonable and a grave threat by neighbouring nations”.

The immediate economic consequences will be minor – most markedly, the price of uranium will go up, and long-term planning has another major uncertainty to allow for. This is very bad news for Koreans who happen to live in Kim Jong Il’s patch, and who already are half starved and devoid of things people in civilised nations take for granted.

Henry’s own Sir Wellington Boot has been following the events slowly:

If the Americans cannot/will not do something serious and damaging to North Korea, the Iranians will surge ahead. Presumably there is a serious connection between the Persians and the North Koreans. I never see any suggestion of this in the daily comics, but it is such an obvious ploy (‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’) that smarties like Persians can be certain to act on it. Now we know that North Korean scientists do have the know-how and the equipment to carry this off. We are not sure what the Persians actually have besides an insufficient number of second hand centrifuges, PLUS oodles of money, which North Korea needs. Is this a marriage made in Hell or what?

This is the first atom bomb explosion in this part of the world since Nagasaki in August 1945. One can imagine the reaction now in Japan. Given the indescribably terrible treatment of the Koreans by the Japanese from 1895-1945, there is no love lost between them. Now the mistreated side has an atom bomb.

Will JWH sell uranium to Japan? I think Japan will insist.

However, if Australia needs to expand the amount of uranium mines currently in operation in order to fulfil Japanese demand, the Australian public do not support it. According to a recent Morgan Poll, released in early August, only 38% of Australians say there should be more than three mines in operation, while 51% are opposed the idea.

Although another Morgan Poll found that 58% of Australians support the sale of uranium to China, it is under the proviso that it be used for peaceful purposes, and that Australia be able to monitor its use. However, Henry would think that such brazen actions by a rogue state such a North Korea would require us to have a radical rethink of our uranium policies.

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