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Instead of launching a missile, North Korea throws a party

South Korean officials predicted that such a missile test was almost certain to happen soon

Choe Sang-Hun | NYT 

North Korea
The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un (second from left), celebrated the national holiday on Saturday by bringing his nuclear scientists and engineers to Pyongyang and holding a banquet | Photo: Reuters

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, 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 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

South Korean officials predicted that such a was almost certain to happen soon, particularly given the tougher sanctions being considered by the On Friday, called for the Council to vote on a draft resolution Monday that would impose new sanctions on for its latest nuclear test.

During the banquet on Saturday, 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 is the great victory won by the Korean people at the cost of their blood while tightening their belts in the arduous period,’” 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 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

First Published: Mon, September 11 2017. 02:29 IST