China-Japan relations have further deteriorated following China’s decision to cease high-level exchanges with Japan in protest at the extended detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain.
North Korea’s secretive leader Kim Jong-il may be visiting China, as reports emerged of a ‘special’ train – his preferred means of travel – at the border. Kim may seek his powerful ally’s help on dwindling food aid.
The North offered to engage in dialogue, and said sanctions would be met by an acceleration of its nuclear program.
Prime Minister Aso's long-ruling party is under fire as polls indicate strong support for the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. The vote is Aug. 30.
Monday's explosion – the latest in a series of hard-line moves by Pyongyang – may have been 20 times more powerful than its last test in 2006.
The US has said it won't use destroyers to shoot missiles down. But they could gather intelligence.