Papers around the world recoil in horror over North Korea’s nuclear test. Or, as the Korean Central News Agency grandiosely phrased it, “The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent.” Oddly enough, the official North Korea propaganda site says nothing. Unease had already been expressed, as this AFP story in the China Post shows, even prior to the actual test. The test came in the wake of a long-awaited thaw in Sino-Japanese relations.
Meanwhile, scientists are scrambling to validate whether there was a test or not. The clearest indication was a jolt equivalent to a 4.9 magnitude earthquake. Don’t know if many will buy the idea that it’s a North Korean hoax, though.
The Korea Times sets the tone:
North Korea tested a nuclear weapon yesterday morning in defiance of the wishes of peaceloving countries of the world. The worst scenario, ever imagined on this peninsula, has become a reality. More than 40 million people living in South Korea are on the verge of being taken a hostage by the nuclear weapons of the North.
The Philippine government is also upset, as are world governments, particularly China and the USA.
Newspaper editorials compete to put forward various regional points of view. The Sydney Morning Herald asks,
But it is difficult to decide who has failed the most. Was it Mr Bush, who chose to confront the North Koreans in October 2002 over a covert uranium enrichment program, and rebuffed Pyongyang’s subsequent efforts to bargain a place in the American sun? Or the South Koreans, seeing their “Sunshine Policy” of the past few years milked by the North with little conceded in return? Or the Chinese, with their six-nation diplomatic effort getting nowhere and their past military sacrifices and long-running economic aid to prop up North Korea counting for little?
The Arab News editorial pins the blame on George Bush, Jr. The Daily Yomiuri thinks the Sino-Japanese rapprochement offers prospects for further cementing ties.
Papers such as The Australian call for sanctions; the Korea Herald appeals for renewed talks;
In his column, John Mangun says the effects of intensified security concerns will be palpable in the Philippines: reduced Japanese and South Korean investments abroad, including the Philippine economy, as both countries beef up their armed forces and focus on defense spending. Fred Kaplan lists four scenarios concerning North Korea -“all bad,” because China and America are “blunderers.”
From Newsbreak comes commentary from Thailand: the King of Thailand says the situation is dire.
The Inquirer editorial eulogizes a slain bishop and focuses on the nationalism of the Philippine Independent Church. Juan Mercado says the country’s been perpetually deprived of closure for decades. For his part, Conrado de Quiros firmly sticks to a retake the exam position, and speaks of overseas Filipino feelings on the nursing exam issue:
Having just come from the United States, which is where many of the examinees dream of going, I do have some idea of the impact the news of the tainted licensure exams has had there. The Filipino community is monumentally dismayed by it. And what is monumental dismay to the Filipino community can easily be monumental distrust to the American hospitals. The successful examinees don’t retake the test, they will have their applications for work abroad scrutinized by their prospective employers more ferociously than their applications for visas by the US and British embassies.
In other news: 1,500 MW of power needed; we may repay some debts early; Lehman Bros. recommends credit upgrade for the country.
In the blogosphere, Belmont Club looks into what kind of nuke was actually tested by North Korea -and whether there’s been a follow-on test (listen to his podcast as well). The Daily Nightly blogs something I wish we’d see more of: the impressions of a TV journalist as they observe a scene -in this case, from the UN Security Council.
TPM Cafe has Stirling Newberry pointing out Republican culpability in the whole thing:
There is a round of Washington led diplomacy for further sanctions. However, the North Korean nuclear train left the station years ago, even as the United States was boarding the Baghdad Express.
For those of us who grew up in the shadow of nuclear war, the the return of the ticking of the atomic clock represents a proof that the post-Cold War moment has been wasted in the wastelands.
George Bush and his bully boys talk the talk of being tough, but they do not walk the walk. Instead of dealing with the emerging atomic states – Pakistan, North Korea and Iran, the decision was made to wage a war of aggression in Iraq. We did not invade Iraq because Saddam had WMD, but because he did not. We did not invade Iraq because Saddam was a threat, but because he was not. It was seen as a cheap way of creating the impression of an America willing to used armed force. It seemed that the oil would pay for the war. It seemed a way of gaining partisan political advantage. It seemed a series of blank checks for military pork.
Coffee With Amee reminds us Jaime Florcruz, CNN correspondent in China, is a Filipino.
ExpectoRants points to indie films on the MV Solar oil spill being censored.
Since I quote editorials a lot, here’s an interesting dissection by Mediashift on whether newspaper editorials should continue to be written or not:
That said, despite all the truths embodied in Gillmor’s maxim that news is no longer a lecture but a dialogue and the consequent necessity for editorialists to engage discussion, not end it, the role of editorialist remains a vital one. Why? Because he or she gets what most others in the conversation don’t - namely, a regular paycheck to study, think, listen and write about issues others care about or are discussing.
Even in the Internet age, the vast majority of folks with something to say in cyberspace spend most of their time making a living and living their lives. The issues of the day aren’t their first concerns, nor should they be. Editorialists on the other hand make their living doing that thinking/listening/studying/writing thing. Taken seriously and carried out in an intellectually honest manner, such a role ought to carry some weight.
And on papers in general, here’s Opus, by Berkely Breathed (weekly, in the Washington Post):
Tonight’s The Explainer is on ROTC and proposals to make it mandatory again.
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