Saturday, September 11, 2004
Via Zemblan patriot P.S.: You will be relieved to know that both American and North Korean sources are now reporting that the mammoth mushroom cloud picked up by satellite cameras (and widely reported by legitimate news media as well as our disreputable colleagues in the seamier precincts of Bloglandia) was not the result of a nuclear blast:
A large cloud that appeared over North Korea in satellite images several days ago was not the result of a nuclear explosion, according to a U.S. official.Our allies in South Korea were especially eager to debunk the notion that the explosion, which produced a massive crater visible from space, might have been evidence of a nuclear test:
South Korea's Yonhap news agency is reporting a huge explosion shook North Korea's northernmost province on Thursday producing a mushroom cloud over two miles (4 km) wide.
The blast coincided with the anniversary of North Korea's founding on Sepember 9 when various military activities are staged.
The U.S. official said the cloud could be the result of a forest fire . . . .
The New York Times reported on Saturday that U.S. President George W. Bush and his top advisers recently received intelligence reports that could indicate North Korea is preparing its first nuclear test, citing senior officials with access to the intelligence.
None of North Korea's known nuclear sites are in the country's northernmost provinces.
"It's difficult to say, but it won't be easy for North Korea to conduct a nuclear test without resulting in massive losses of its own people," said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert in Seoul. "I think there is a more possibility that it is a simple accident, rather than a deliberate nuclear test."And best of all, the world is a safer place because Saddam Hussein is in a jail cell as we write. Sleep tight!
Yonhap's diplomatic source in Seoul said the explosion took place "not far" from a military base that holds ballistic missiles. North Korea, which has a large missile arsenal and more than a million soldiers, is dotted with military installations . . . .
On Saturday, North Korea said recent revelations that South Korea conducted secret nuclear experiments involving uranium and plutonium made the communist state more determined to pursue its own nuclear programs.
The South Korean experiments, conducted in 1982 and 2000, were likely to further complicate the already stalled six-nation talks aimed at dismantling the North's nuclear development. South Korea has said the experiments were purely for research and did not reflect a desire to develop weapons.