...celebrations in the North

Citizens line streets to cheer nuclear scientists

Korean People's Army soldiers watching fireworks during a mass celebration in Pyongyang on Wednesday. The event was for the scientists involved in the nuclear test.
Korean People's Army soldiers watching fireworks during a mass celebration in Pyongyang on Wednesday. The event was for the scientists involved in the nuclear test.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

PYONGYANG • 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 on 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 United States, South Korea, Japan and others for stronger United Nations Security Council sanctions against the North.

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 pre-emptive strikes if they and the hordes of traitors finally ignite a war", the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

Sunday's blast was the North's sixth nuclear detonation and by far its biggest to date. Hydrogen bombs, or H-bombs, are thermonuclear weapons far more powerful than ordinary fission-based atomic bombs, and use a nuclear blast to generate the intense temperatures required for fusion to take place.

Foreign governments have yet to confirm if Sunday's blast was a full two-stage thermonuclear weapon, or an enhanced fission device. Estimates vary but all put the blast at far larger than the 15-kiloton US bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2017, with the headline 'Citizens line streets to cheer nuclear scientists'. Print Edition | Subscribe