APAC—Top 10 Stories of Decade

By: The Diplomat

8. North Korea Tests NukesOctober 9, 2006 and May 25, 2009

image: Uniphoto Press

On October 9, 2006, North Korea detonated a nuclear device underground at a site in the northeast of the country. The yield, estimated at less than 1 kiloton, suggested the test was a dud, and left open questions about just how much progress the Hermit Kingdom had made with its nuclear weapons program. After international condemnation, Pyongyang returned to the six-party disarmament talks on October 31, continuing its ongoing game of brinksmanship. Three years later, after Kim Jong-il appeared to have suffered at least one stroke, North Korea tested again, this time with more success. Speculation mounted that Kim was taking a hard-line stance to smooth the way for his son to take over in the event of his death. The UN imposed sanctions, North Korea responded with bellicosity. All of which has begun to prompt speculation of a possible end game for North Korea. An increasingly frail-looking Kim suggests at some point in the next decade a transfer of power will be required, and indications are that it won’t go as smoothly as it did in the 1990s, when the Dear Leader took over from his father, the Great Leader. (If Kim’s son does take power, it will be interesting to see if his PR handlers go saccharine or bombastic for the modifying adjective.) Dealing with any regime change could be one of the most delicate issues of the next decade, given the threat Pyongyang represents in conventional as well as nuclear terms. The key player here will be China, which will want to prevent a flood of refugees from crossing the border into its territory, yet will likely be uncomfortable with a unified, pro-West Korea.

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Vlad January 12, 2010

You are jumping the gun. The first decade of this century ends December 31st 2010.

Don January 14, 2010

Ah, but you wouldn’t consider 1990 to be apart of the 80s, would you?
There was no year “0″, yes, so one may be tempted to say that we do have a year until the “00s” are up. However, seeing as a decade can arbitrarily be any stretch of ten years, it ultimately boils down to personal preference (notwithstanding the fact that we haven’t officially entered the 201st decade). So, yes, we haven’t technically made it into the next decade. But, once again, I wouldn’t consider 1990 to be apart of the 80s. And so, as far as I, and possibly most people, care, we have entered the “10s”, and left the “00s.”

Ashley Gavin January 15, 2010

I don’t see how neither the war in Iraq nor 911 made it to this list…

Xilantro January 15, 2010

Vlad is right – what’s the difference, though? Living in the strikingly stupid and un-democratic US, the 99-year century was no surprise, and moving decades up one for the new millenium makes as much sense as having the electoral college install the wrong guy in the presidency because Fox news announced his victory before votes were counted (that would be Bush) or calling the slaughter of 1m Iraqis a ‘war’ – Welcome to idiocracy! ;-)

Joe January 16, 2010

The 9/11 attack is, without a doubt, the most important event of this decade.

Robin January 16, 2010

Ashley/Joe- Actually, I think this story is called APAC: Top 10 Stories of the Decade for a reason. APAC. It is only concerned with the Asia-Pacific region which would exclude both New York and Iraq.

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