Washington: "Traces of radioactivity in Korean air"

The discovery was announced by anonymous sources of the US government. A UN vote on what sanctions to impose on Pyongyang should be taken today: Beijing and Seoul are pushing for a diplomatic approach.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – The United States has found traces of radioactivity at the site where North Korea claimed it undertook a nuclear test on Monday. This was announced by national US television that cited anonymous sources from the Secret Services, saying the discovery would "soon" be made officially public by the government.

Since Pyongyang's announcement on 9 October, analysts of the international community claimed to be "surprised" by the weakness of the blast, calculated to be around half a kiloton, far less than similar tests or than bombs dropped by the US on Hiroshima or Nagasaki during World War II. The prevalent theory in the US is that the test was a nuclear one, but that it was practically a failure.

The American announcement comes on the day when the Security Council is scheduled to vote about sanctions to be imposed on the North Korean regime for its nuclear provocation. Chinese president Hu Jintao and his South Korean counterpart Roh Moo-hyun met to discuss the matter yesterday in Beijing.

The two leaders concluded their long meeting with a joint statement underlining a shared desire to opt for a diplomatic solution to the North Korean question. All the same, in the statement, China and South Korea – the only Asian countries that are "friends" of Pyongyang – forcefully demanded that the regime return to the nuclear disarmament negotiating table and stop provoking the international community.

As for the vote at the Glass Palace, Roh and Hu said they were for "appropriate and necessary measures" but stressed that "the path to follow is diplomatic not military".