North Korea held a mass celebration for the scientists involved in carrying out its largest nuclear blast to date, with fireworks and a mass rally in Pyongyang.
Citizens of the capital lined the streets Wednesday to cheer buses carrying the specialists into the city, and tens of thousands of people gathered in Kim Il-Sung Square to praise their efforts.
The blast triggered global condemnation and calls by the US, South Korea, Japan and others for stronger United Nations Security Council sanctions against the North. The official Korean Central News Agency described it as a “successful ICBM-ready H-bomb test”.
Speakers at the rally said the North’s military “will put an end to the destiny of the gangster-like US imperialists through the most merciless and strongest preemptive strikes if they and the hordes of traitors finally ignite a war”, KCNA reported.
Biggest till date
Sunday’s blast was the North’s sixth nuclear detonation and by far its biggest to date. Foreign governments have yet to confirm whether Sunday’s blast was a full two-stage thermonuclear weapon, or an enhanced fission device.
Working out its size depends on factors including the magnitude of the earthquake generated, the depth at which it was buried, and the type of rock surrounding it. North Korea in July carried out its first two successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), apparently bringing much of the US mainland into range.
Seoul and Washington early Thursday deployed four more launchers in the South for the THAAD missile defense system, whose presence has infuriated Beijing. The move was part of measures to defend the South from the North, Seoul’s defense ministry said.