North Korea's top newsreader announces hydrogen bomb success

A screengrab showing top North Korean newsreader Ri Chun Hee announcing the successful test of a hydrogen bomb, during a news programme on Sept 3, 2017. PHOTO: AFP/KCTV

SEOUL (AFP) - Pyongyang's favourite newsreader - a woman in her 70s - returned to the airwaves Sunday (Sept 3) to declare its proud possession of a hydrogen bomb.

Ri Chun Hee has previously told her loyal viewers of the deaths of the country's founder Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il, several of the nuclear tests that have seen it subjected to multiple rounds of United Nations sanctions.

Nowadays her appearances are rare, but two months ago she announced the launch of its intercontinental ballistic missile, and she was back on Korean Central Television screens Sunday with its latest milestone.

Ahead of the announcement, it showed military parades, missile launches, fireworks over the monument to the founding of the ruling Workers' Party, and other patriotic images.

In front of a backdrop of Mt Paektu, the dormant volcano on the Chinese border that is the fount of Korean nationhood, she trembled with excitement, smiling broadly as she pronounced the test's "perfect success".

It "clearly proved" that the North's nuclear weapons had a "highly precise basis", she said, wearing a pink and black traditional dress, known as hanbok in the South and choson chogori in the North, adorned with a badge of Kim Il Sung and his son and successor Kim Jong Il.

The broadcaster carried images of leader Kim Jong Un, the third generation of the family to rule the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as the country is officially known, sitting at a circular table with a general and three other officials.

It also showed his handwritten order for the test to be carried out at noon on Sept 3.

The test "marked a very significant occasion in attaining the final goal of completing the state nuclear force", Ri said.

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