Friday, October 06, 2006

Kim Rallies Army Ahead of Threatened Nuke Test

A rare public appearance by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il--the reclusive tyrant rallied with his army--probably indicates that the rogue regime is about to make good on its threat to detonate a nuclear device.

Kim's meting with top army commanders was punctuated by cheers of the always popular North Korean military slogans, "Human bullets and bombs!" and "To fight at the cost of our lives!"

An ominous Kim moment? We think so.

China Confidential has said since Tuesday that a North Korean nuclear test could come as early as next Monday (scroll down for the continuing coverage), as Kim would like to upstage the virtually certain Security Council selection of South Korea's foreign minister, Ban Ki-Moon, as United Nations secretary general.

Columbus Day will also be celebrated in the United States next Monday, and Kim's provocative July 4 missile launchings may point to his wanting to spoil another US national holiday. (Scroll for the Venezuela angle.)

Kim could also be tempted to use an atomic explosion to overshadow Monday's scheduled visit to South Korea by Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Considered a hardliner on the North Korean issue, Abe will visit China on Sunday. His summit talks are aimed at improving Japan's relations with China and South Korea.

So much for timing. As for location, analysts say North Korea is most likely to bury its bomb in an abandoned coal mine in the northern part of the country, near China.

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