[FOUNTAIN]If test faked, then what?In the spring of 1951, at the height of the Korean War, an elderly Japanese named Okada turned up at the Jinhae naval base. He claimed that he was a nuclear weapons researcher in Japan during the Pacific War, and a naval vessel was sent to bring him. He had a bundle of blueprints and assured officials that he could make atomic and hydrogen bombs. President Syngman Rhee was convinced by the claim and granted $100,000, a huge sum of money at the time, in research funds. However, all his claims were fabricated. He had actually been a battery technician. He generated hydrogen from the decomposition of water and filled a steel tank with hydrogen. He lied that he had made an atomic bomb, and demonstrated an explosion test off Jinhae in front of President Rhee. He claimed that the bomb was 10 volts, but if he made a 100- volt bomb, it would be more powerful than the one used at Hiroshima. Mr. Rhee was greatly pleased. It is only laughable in retrospect that everyone was fooled by the fraud to detonate a nuclear bomb in the port.
On the other hand, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt reluctantly approved the Manhattan Project. He was not completely convinced by the claim of the scientists that a city of several hundred thousand residents could be destroyed by a single bomb.
Having witnessed the catastrophic power of atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we have become paranoid at the prospect of such weapons. In September 1994, Seoul fell into chaos. After a large explosion in Yanggang Province in North Korea, a satellite photo showed a 3.5 to 4 kilometer-radius mushroom cloud. The Korean government made a great fuss that there might have been a nuclear explosion. The fuss ended when North Korean diplomats explained that the explosion had been a blasting at the Samsu Power Plant. It is still unknown whether the mushroom cloud was a cloud or fog. The Korean government disgracefully revealed its poor intelligence capability.
On Oct. 9, another large explosion was detected in the North. The force of the blast registered 3.6 on the Richter scale, equivalent to 800 tons of TNT. This time, Pyongyang promptly announced that it had conducted a nuclear test. However, the blast size may have been too small for a nuclear explosion, and no radioactive fallout such as Krypton-85 has been detected.
If the nuclear test turns out to be fake, will leftist groups advocate an anti-nuclear program again? As long as Pyongyang keeps on insisting, it is difficult to verify whether the test actually took place or if it was fabricated.
by Kim Jin-kook
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.