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North Korea Nuclear Goals: Case of Mixed Signals

Early this year, American spy satellites detected a spike in suspicious tunneling activity at a highly secretive military site in the mountains of North Korea.It alarmed some of the government’s top nuclear analysts, who saw it as a sign that North Korea might be preparing to make good on threats to conduct its first test of a nuclear weapon. There was even tantalizing talk among some officials in Washington that the North Koreans were so far along in preparing for an underground detonation that they had built a reviewing stand for dignitaries to witness the earth tremble. The prospect of an imminent test became a crucial point in briefings by the Bush administration to its Asian allies and China, arguing that the North Korean threat was growing rapidly and that they needed to increase pressure to resume six-nation talks aimed at disarmament. After weeks of diplomatic maneuvering, North Korea agreed to resume the talks, which are to begin Tuesday.Full Story

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