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Government States: “It Does Not Appear to be a Nuclear-Related Test”

Government States: “It Does Not Appear to be a Nuclear-Related Test”

Posted September. 12, 2004 22:31,   


Various sources said on Sunday that a massive explosion rocked Yanggang Province in Kim Hyong-jik County on September 9, the anniversary of the 1948 foundation of the communist regime.

The South Korean government held an emergency standing committee of the National Security Council (NSC) and discussed the nature of the explosion. A top government official stated, “It is presumed that the explosion took place late at night on Wednesday or early in the morning of Thursday. The site of the explosion is surrounded by mountains with a railroad track passing through the area.”

The Yonhap news agency, citing a diplomatic source in Seoul, reported that “We know that a mushroom cloud with a radius of about 3.5 to 4 kilometers was spotted from an explosion that happened around 11 a.m. on Thursday. Furthermore, the news agency commented, “We heard that the size of the explosion was much bigger than the Yongchon train explosion in April. The remains from the explosion have been captured by satellite images, attracting U.S.’s interest on the matter.

The South Korean authorities, together with the U.S., Japan, and other neighboring countries, immediately began an investigation on the explosion, but details on the exact cause of the explosion and the size of the damage are not known. Some people are not excluding the possibility that North conducted a nuclear experiment, considering the size and mushroom cloud that appeared at the moment of the explosion.

On this matter, Unification Minister Chung Dong-young stated, “Since the site of the explosion was near the North’s border with China, it is unlikely that N.K. ignored China and conducted a nuclear-related test. There were some reports by foreign news agencies, indicating a possible nuclear test by N.K., but the explosion is found to be irrelevant with the report.”

Presidential spokesman Kim Jong-min said, “Considering the aftermath from the explosion, the NSC reported the matter to the President. It does not appear to be a nuclear-related test, but it looks like an accident.” The Reuters news agency reported that an U.S. State Department official said, “It is pretty certain that the explosion was not caused by a nuclear explosion or a nuclear experiment, but there has been no report given on the nature of the explosion.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post and other foreign news agencies reported that we can not exclude the possibility that the explosion was from a nuclear test, but added that it could have been from a missile, an explosion at a munitions factory or a natural disaster.