Spotlight: North Korea's Nuclear Test

Even before the mystifying Kim Jong Il took power in 1994, the outside world was trying mightily to figure out how the North Korean regime works. Spy satellites are trained on its suspected nuclear sites 24 hours a day. Defectors from the North have been thoroughly scrubbed, and spies have been recruited. Diplomats from the U.S. and four other countries have talked on and off for years with their counterparts from Pyongyang. For all that, the May 25 nuclear-weapons test--North Korea's second in three years--makes clear just how dangerously unpredictable it can be.

The international community struck the usual poses that...

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