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NUKEWARS
Photos show new activity at N.Korea nuclear site
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 20, 2013


N. Korea's nuclear test heroes win Pyongyang trip
Seoul (AFP) Feb 20, 2013 - North Korea is rewarding the scientists and workers behind its recent nuclear test with a fun-packed visit to Pyongyang to enjoy "the greatest privileges", state media said Wednesday.

Scientists, technicians, workers and officials behind the February 12 test received a hero's welcome when they arrived in the capital, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Residents turned out along the route with bouquets, banners and posters to give them a "hearty welcome".

"They will spend significant days in Pyongyang, enjoying the greatest privileges and preferential treatment," KCNA said, promising a "joyful and delightful time" at the city's open-air ice rink and roller skating centre.

The group will also visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which holds the embalmed bodies of North Korea's founder Kim Il-Sung and his son and former leader Kim Jong-Il.

North Korea's third nuclear test was its most powerful to date, with Pyongyang claiming a breakthrough with a "miniaturised" device.

While the outside world was united in condemnation, the test triggered days of orchestrated celebrations and mass rallies in North Korea.

The test followed a widely criticised long-range rocket launch in December, which the UN Security Council saw as a disguised ballistic missile test.

The North's current leader, Kim Jong-Un, awarded state medals and other benefits to the hundreds of scientists who worked on the rocket launch.

N. Korea says tourism 'booming'
Seoul (AFP) Feb 19, 2013 - Foreign tourism is "booming" in North Korea, state media said Tuesday a week after the country triggered global outrage by conducting its third nuclear test.

The number of foreign visitors to the North has grown steadily since 2000 and witnessed a surge after 2009, especially in the number of European visitors, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

"The global popularity of tourism to (North Korea) is booming," the agency said, without providing any breakdown on the number of visitors.

A range of "shining, socialist accomplishments" made under the leadership of the ruling Kim family have elevated North Korea's status and sparked interest in travelling to the country, KCNA said.

It did not mention if the "accomplishments" included its long-range rocket launch in December -- condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test -- or the February 12 nuclear test.

"Most tourists gave positive reviews about their experiences in (North Korea) on the Internet and other media ... and the range of travel routes is expanding," KCNA said.

North Korea's direct air links with other countries are extremely limited, with China the main conduit for most travellers heading to Pyongyang.

The state carrier, Air Koryo, also flies to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malaysia, Switzerland, Russia and Thailand, according to its website.

North Korea is not a cheap tourist destination, as the hard currency-strapped nation charges high prices for everything from beer to accommodation.

North Korea has resumed activity at a nuclear site following its internationally condemned bomb test, a US think tank said Wednesday, amid fears that the regime will carry out more explosions.

Examining satellite photos, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University detected a rise in traffic at the Punggye-ri site but cautioned that there was not enough evidence to assert that a new test was in the works.

The think tank said that there had been no sign of vehicles or people moving at the site for a day after North Korea carried out its third nuclear test on February 12 but that activity had resumed by February 15.

Writing on the institute's 38 North blog, analysts Jack Liu and Nick Hansen said the change over a few days may indicate that North Korea "took safety precautions to ensure radioactivity levels were sufficiently low before sending personnel back into the area."

North Korea is believed to have tightly sealed the site, making it difficult for the United States and other nations to detect from the air whether Pyongyang used uranium -- which would prove it has a second nuclear method in addition to its plutonium program.

But the analysts found activity in two different parts of the site. They said that if North Korea detonated the bomb in a tunnel in the northern area, "then the southern tunnel would be readily available for a fourth test."

North Korea likely used the northern tunnel area for its previous nuclear test in 2009, but it is not known in which area it carried out its latest explosion.

The analysts said that another reason why activity appeared to increase this month was the melting of snow that fell the day after the nuclear test.

Despite widespread international condemnation, North Korea has taken on a defiant tone since its latest nuclear test, leading to fears that it will conduct another blast or long-range rocket test.

N. Korea envoy warns S. Korea of 'final destruction'
Geneva (AFP) Feb 19, 2013 - South Korea faces "final destruction" if Seoul and its allies continue to push for tougher UN resolutions against North Korea's nuclear programme, Pyongyang warned Tuesday.

"We have never recognised the propagandist resolutions on sanctions by the UN Security Council," North Korean envoy Jon Yong Ryong told a session of the UN Conference on Disarmament.

"As the saying goes, 'a newborn puppy knows no fear of a tiger.' South Korea's erratic behaviour could only herald its final destruction," he insisted.

North and South Korea traditionally trade barbs at the UN forum -- which meets regularly in Geneva and focusses on a raft of global arms-control issues.

But in the wake of North Korea's latest nuclear test last week and a global outpouring of condemnation, the rhetoric was unusually high-pitched Tuesday.

South Korea's ambassador, Kwon Haeryong, hit back.

He said that Pyongyang's secretive regime would do better to ensure a better life for its people, in a country which has suffered intermittent famines in the past two decades.

"Everybody knows that North Korea is committing enormous resources to developing nuclear weapons and a missile capability. But it is very regrettable that a chronic food shortage persists and continually threatens people," Kwon said.

"Those Korean people are in a dire situation because of the bad allocation of their resources. The North Korean regime has continued to ask for humanitarian assistance from the international community. Considering this, we urge North Korea to focus on improving the living conditions for its entire people," he said.

Last week's test was North Korea's most powerful to date, with Pyongyang claiming a breakthrough with a "miniaturised" device.

North Korea's secretive regime repeatedly has rejected international calls to halt its nuclear programme, belittling international sanctions.

Jon also slammed the United States, blaming the superpower for the current stand-off with his country -- known officially as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK.

"The DPRK nuclear test is just a measure for self-defence, to cope with intensified US nuclear blackmail against it," he said.

"It is the disposition and firm will of the army and people of the DPRK to counter a high-handed policy with the toughest policy and react to pressure and sanctions with an all-out counter action," he added.

"The DPRK does not make any empty talk. It will take the toughest measure against foreign aggressors and violation of sovereignty in the future," he insisted.

The US ambassador, Laura Kennedy, said North Korea's remarks would be "offensive and unacceptable" in any setting, let alone at a conference dedicated to disarmament.

N. Korea envoy warns S. Korea of 'final destruction'
Geneva (AFP) Feb 19, 2013 - South Korea faces "final destruction" if Seoul and its allies continue to push for tougher UN resolutions against North Korea's nuclear programme, Pyongyang warned Tuesday.

"We have never recognised the propagandist resolutions on sanctions by the UN Security Council," North Korean envoy Jon Yong Ryong told a session of the UN Conference on Disarmament.

"As the saying goes, 'a newborn puppy knows no fear of a tiger.' South Korea's erratic behaviour could only herald its final destruction," he insisted.

North and South Korea traditionally trade barbs at the UN forum -- which meets regularly in Geneva and focusses on a raft of global arms-control issues.

But in the wake of North Korea's latest nuclear test last week and a global outpouring of condemnation, the rhetoric was unusually high-pitched Tuesday.

South Korea's ambassador, Kwon Haeryong, hit back.

He said that Pyongyang's secretive regime would do better to ensure a better life for its people, in a country which has suffered intermittent famines in the past two decades.

"Everybody knows that North Korea is committing enormous resources to developing nuclear weapons and a missile capability. But it is very regrettable that a chronic food shortage persists and continually threatens people," Kwon said.

"Those Korean people are in a dire situation because of the bad allocation of their resources. The North Korean regime has continued to ask for humanitarian assistance from the international community. Considering this, we urge North Korea to focus on improving the living conditions for its entire people," he said.

Last week's test was North Korea's most powerful to date, with Pyongyang claiming a breakthrough with a "miniaturised" device.

North Korea's secretive regime repeatedly has rejected international calls to halt its nuclear programme, belittling international sanctions.

Jon also slammed the United States, blaming the superpower for the current stand-off with his country -- known officially as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK.

"The DPRK nuclear test is just a measure for self-defence, to cope with intensified US nuclear blackmail against it," he said.

"It is the disposition and firm will of the army and people of the DPRK to counter a high-handed policy with the toughest policy and react to pressure and sanctions with an all-out counter action," he added.

"The DPRK does not make any empty talk. It will take the toughest measure against foreign aggressors and violation of sovereignty in the future," he insisted.

The US ambassador, Laura Kennedy, said North Korea's remarks would be "offensive and unacceptable" in any setting, let alone at a conference dedicated to disarmament.

.


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Researchers See Ionospheric Signature of North Korean Nuclear Test
Fredericton, Canada (SPX) Feb 20, 2013
The explosion of an underground nuclear device by North Korea this week disturbed the Earth's ionosphere. The blast generated infrasonic waves that propagated all the way to the upper atmosphere causing small variations in the density of electrons there. By analyzing the signals from GPS satellites collected at ground-based monitoring stations in South Korea and Japan, scientists at the Ca ... read more


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