[the two koreas]
Indeed, last night's annual reception for National Foundation Day was packed, attended by far more dignitaries, of far higher rank, than in past years. United States Ambassador John Bolton was there — Jenny remarked that he is shorter than she expected — as were the ambassadors of the other permanent members of the Security Council, as well as Japan's ambassador, who is currently the president of the Council. The big crowd was there, I am certain, because of the news that had come out less than an hour before the reception began that South Korea would be providing the next SG. Already the appointment was having one of its desired effects: raising South Korea's profile in the world.
At the moment, however, the big Korea news is that the North is planning a nuclear test. The timing is fairly typical of North Korea — these are the same people who managed to stage a naval incident in 2002, killing four South Korean sailors right around the climax of the World Cup hosted in South Korea. Whether today's announcement is meant to derail Minister Ban's appointment or merely overshadow it is unclear, but it is certainly bad news.