marked its government’s 69th anniversary not with another missile test, as many had feared, but with a gala party for the scientists involved in carrying out the country’s most powerful nuclear test yet last week, the state-run news media reported on Sunday.
The country’s leader, Kim
Jong-un, celebrated the national holiday on Saturday by bringing his nuclear scientists and engineers to Pyongyang, the capital, and holding a banquet.
On their way from the country’s underground nuclear test site in northeast North Korea
to Pyongyang, the technicians had been cheered by people who poured out to see them passing by, the country’s official Korean Central News Agency reported. And upon their arrival in the city, on Wednesday, they were met with a hero’s welcome, including a huge outdoor rally and firecrackers.
described the test, on September 3, as the detonation of a hydrogen bomb that could be delivered by a missile. Kim’s government called it “a merciless sledgehammer blow to the US imperialists.”
Outside officials and analysts had feared that the country would commemorate the birthday of its government on Saturday by conducting another weapons test, possibly launching another intercontinental ballistic missile.
South Korean officials predicted that such a missile test
was almost certain to happen soon, particularly given the tougher sanctions being considered by the United Nations Security Council.
On Friday, Washington
called for the Council to vote on a draft resolution Monday that would impose new sanctions on North Korea
for its latest nuclear test.
During the banquet on Saturday, Kim
spurred his engineers to make “redoubled efforts, not slackening the spirit displayed by them in bringing the great auspicious event of the national history,” the North Korean news agency said.
“‘The recent test of the H-bomb
is the great victory won by the Korean people at the cost of their blood while tightening their belts in the arduous period,’” Kim
was quoted as saying. “He put forward the tasks for the scientists and technicians in the field of defence science to conduct scientific researches for bolstering up the nuclear deterrence of self-defence in the drive to attain the final goal of completing the state nuclear force.”
launched two ICBMs in July, the last of which demonstrated the potential of reaching the mainland United States.
But North Korea
has yet to demonstrate that its warhead would not burn up while re-entering the atmosphere or that it could hit a target with reasonable accuracy, analysts said.
© 2017 The New York Times News Service