Huge blast in North Korea?

This sure sounds serious– maybe even nuclear.

A large explosion occurred in the northern part of North Korea (news – web sites), sending a huge mushroom cloud into the air on an important anniversary of the communist regime, a South Korean news agency reported Sunday.

The South Korean government said it was trying to confirm the report.

The Yonhap news agency, citing an unidentified diplomatic source in Seoul, said the explosion happened at 11 a.m. local time Thursday in Yanggang province near the border with China. The blast in Kim Hyong Jik county left a crater big enough to be noticed by a satellite, the source said.

“We understand that a mushroom-shaped cloud about 2.2 miles to 2.5 miles in diameter was monitored during the explosion,” the source said. Yonhap described the source as “reliable.”

Thursday was the anniversary of the 1948 foundation of the communist regime. Leader Kim Jong Il uses the occasion to stage performances and other events to bolster loyalty among the impoverished North Korean population.

Experts have speculated that North Korea might use a major anniversary to conduct a nuclear-related test, though there was no immediate indication that the reported explosion on Thursday was linked to Pyongyang’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Lots of questions, and no answers at the moment.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

As of now, CNN is reporting that U.S. sources are saying the cloud could be a result from a forest fire. Though im not quite certain yet. At first, I thought it could have been a rather quixotic assassination attempt on Kim Jong Il but that seems unlikely now. Perhaps it was a nuclear test that fizzled with a whimper instead of a full fledged bang. In any case, if it was a nuclear weapon, I think Iraq will soon be the least of our worries. I for one am quite glad I do not live on the west coast of the U.S. at the moment.

September 12, 2004 @ 12:59 am | Comment

Explosion in North Korea.

Something went bang in North Korea on Thursday.

September 12, 2004 @ 1:05 am | Comment

Local TV noted this in one of the quick briefs this morning Hong Kong time. Said it could have been nuclear but lots of empty holes in data at this time.

September 12, 2004 @ 3:23 am | Comment

Japan has so many seismometers around the country that it should be able to pick up the shockwave from a nuclear blast in north Korea.

I certainly remember that the US used hydrophones and seismometers to record Russia nuclear experiments during the standoff years. They were sensitive enough to pick up a blast from half way around the world, and even managed to pick up the sound of the Russian nuclear submarine that Howard Huges salvaged.

If it really was a nuclear detonation then the US knows that it was and isn’t telling, and they have probably already contacted geologists in Japan to check their seismometers for shockwave recordings at that time.

Then again, Japan experienced a powerful earthquake very close this time, it is possible that North Korea experienced a similar earthquake and that it detonated a factory or a munitions factory.

I do however think that this site is too close to China to be a nuclear blast, Beijing wouldn’t stand for North Korea detonating a nuclear bomb this close to the border.

September 12, 2004 @ 4:22 am | Comment

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