10/30/2006, 00.00
NORTH KOREA

North Korea celebrates nuclear test while firing and selling more arms

"Spontaneous" manifestations of joy for the nuclear test of 9 October took place. Before the feasting, Pyongyang launched five missiles and, according to American charges, has sold at least 40 to African and Middle Eastern countries.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – Defying international criticism, North Korea yesterday celebrated the success of its first nuclear test with "spontaneous" manifestations of joy by the people and the army. Anti-American sentiments were restated for the occasion.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, the official news agency of the Stalinist regime, "soldiers and citizens gathered to hail the successful historic nuclear test at 12 events across the country".

The agency, the only legal communications media in the country, continued to say that "successive US administrations have pursued very hostile policies towards North Korea." Washington "was brazen-faced enough to describe the nuclear test on 9 October as a threat to international peace and security."

UN sanctions – approved shortly after the announcement of the atomic test – are therefore a "declaration of war" but the people and the army "through these rallies have firmly pledged themselves to defend our socialist country and bring about miracles in economic construction, true to the great Songun policy."

Songun is the doctrine that was first pronounced by the "eternal President" of Pyongyang, Kim Il-sung, according to which "the military take priority in medical and food sectors, and must be safeguarded at all costs."

Before the celebrations, the regime gave another show of force, launching five ground-to-air and air-to-air missiles. An anonymous representative of the South Korean government said the launch "seems to be part of annual military exercise of Pyongyang. But we're analyzing the intention because the firing of five missiles during a drill is very unusual and comes amid Pyongyang's protests against the UN Security Council resolution against it."

Moreover, North Korean missiles appear to be at the centre of trade between Pyongyang and African and Middle Eastern countries. According to the Times, a secret report by the American government cited proof of an extensive trade of arms – at least 40 – between North Korea and Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and some central African states. This trade, if confirmed, could lead to the country being completely shut off from any type of international contact.

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