North Korea testing Nuclear Weapons?

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Report: Mushroom Cloud Seen After N.Korea Explosion
Sat Sep 11, 2004 11:33 PM ET
SEOUL (Reuters) - A mushroom cloud up to 2.5 miles in diameter was seen after an explosion in a remote area of North Korea near the border with China, Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday, quoting sources in Beijing.
The South Korean news agency said Thursday’s blast in Kimhyungjik county in Yanggang province appeared to much worse than a train explosion that killed at least 170 people in April.

South Korean intelligence officials said they were monitoring the report, but declined detailed comment.

Related note:

US Says N.Korea Blast Unlikely to Have Been Nuclear
Sun Sep 12, 2004 02:39 AM ET
By Kim Miyoung and Jack Kim
SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) - A huge explosion rocked North Korea three days ago but U.S. and South Korean officials said on Sunday it was unlikely to have been a nuclear weapons test despite a report the blast produced a mushroom cloud.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the blast on Thursday in Kimhyungjik county in Ryanggang province in the northeast near the border with China appeared much bigger than a train explosion that killed at least 170 people in April.

The New York Times reported in its Sunday editions the Bush administration had received recent intelligence reports that some experts believed could indicate North Korea was preparing to conduct its first nuclear weapons test explosion.

But in Washington, U.S. officials said there was no definitive explanation yet, although the blast did not appear to be nuclear. A test would alter the stakes in the North’s standoff with the United States over Pyongyang’s atomic ambitions.

“We’ve got no indication that anything of the sort has happened. We believe these reports to be completely unfounded,” said a State Department official who asked not to be named.

“People are pretty sure it’s not a mushroom cloud and not a test of any kind,” the official said.

Yonhap said a mushroom cloud up to 4 km (2.5 miles) in diameter was seen after the blast in an area near missile bases.

One explanation is that there was a “forest fire”, this is also in an area that NK keeps one of it’s major missile launch sites.

Can you post stuff like this in P&R? This is just going to turn into a thread about how Bush’s preemption policy is a success and/or failure.

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