- PYONGYANG, North Korea -
DPRK leader Kim Jong Il broke North Korea's silence Sunday on the explosion
detected in its northern province of Ryanggang, resulting in a mushroom
cloud over two miles in diameter. "In view of the danger we face in
sharing the globe with an aggressor such as the United States," read
Kim Jong on KCNA, "We felt we could no longer sit at the negotiating
table while our enemies prepared for invasion on our soil. To prove our
sincerity as well as our might, we launched this test of our nuclear arsenal.
Let the world take note, and take heed."
- "Kim Jong Il is no better than Saddam."
- -- Secretary of State Colin Powell
- Secretary of State Colin Powell called the admission
"ludicrous, ill-timed, and patently false," pointing to mounting
evidence that the explosion and resulting cloud was caused by conventional
explosives, likely due to an accident. "Just when this closed nation
should be exposing the area to national scrutiny in a bid for international
aid to help it deal with the aftermath of this horrific blast, they are
instead using it as a bargaining chip. Kim Jong Il is no better than Saddam."
- Officials with KCNA, the North's official news agency,
said that Powell was "misinformed" and that they "possess
evidence that positively identifies the explosion as having resulted from
a nuclear weapon test." The evidence is considered to be conclusive,
but, said one official, "Release of the materials at this time would
constitute a national security breach."
- Seismograph stations surrounding North Korea report detecting
the blast, but that the signature is not consistent with a nuclear test.
"It registered more like an above-ground chemical explosives blast,"
reported one such station, "In fact, the signature suggests it was
a timed series of twenty-five blasts, approximately one-half second apart."
This lends credence to the theory that an outside agency entered North
Korea and purposely sabotaged the site, thought to be a nuclear weapons
research facility. "That would be an awful shame," said Powell,
when asked about the possibility, "But it was a fairly inexpensive
operation. I mean, it would be inexpensive. I assume. If that's what it