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Government Says, “No Explosion in Yanggang Province”

Posted September. 17, 2004 21:47,   


On the matter of the Kim Hyong-jik County, Yanggang Province, explosion, Unification Vice Minister Rhee Bong-Jo stated on Friday, “It seems that there was no explosion at the site in which the information authorities suspected one had taken place.”

Rhee said, “The area captured with the seismic center of an earthquake and the mushroom-shaped cloud is 100 kilometers east, thus irrelevant to the blast. Even the peculiar-shaped cloud near the blast site was probably a natural phenomenon, considering the landscape and the weather conditions of that area.”

Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported, citing Paul Beijer, Sweden`s ambassador to North Korea, that the diplomats from seven countries with missions in North Korea did not visit Kim Hyong-jik County on Thursday, but instead the nearby Samsu County for an inspection of the explosion site.

The Korean government carefully studied the satellite images of the Kim Hyong-jik County after the explosion took place and continued to search for an explanation behind the explosion in Kim Hyong-jik County, even when the North announced that the explosion was a detonation planned as part of a dam project.

Returning from his visit to Pyongyang, British Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell held a press conference in London on Thursday (Korean time) and stated, “Foreign diplomats, with David Slinn, Britain’s ambassador to Pyongyang, as the leader of the group, visited the site of the explosion for 90 minutes.”

Returning to Pyongyang after his visit of the blast site on Thursday, Beijer stated, “The site that the diplomats inspected was Samsu County, Yanggang Province, the area of construction for a hydroelectric power plant, a place 60 kilometers away from the initial suspected site of the blast.”

The North Korean authorities explained to the diplomats, “We have used a total of 150 tons of gunpowder on the midnight of September 8 and early in the morning of September 9. The dam will be finished by October of next year.”

Beijer stated, “The explosion remains could not be clearly distinguished, but there has been a change in the landscape.”

Won-Jae Park taewon_ha@donga.com parkwj@donga.com