Mass rally in Pyongyang celebrates nuclear test

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10:51 AM February 15th, 2013

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February 15th, 2013 10:51 AM

North Korean army officers and soldiers attend a rally at Kim Il Sung Square on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in celebration of the country’s recent nuclear test. The U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea’s decision to conduct a third underground nuclear test earlier in the week in defiance of resolutions banning nuclear and missile activity. AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin

SEOUL – More than 100,000 troops and civilians staged a mass rally in Pyongyang to celebrate North Korea’s nuclear test and praise the “matchless” bravery of leader Kim Jong-Un, state media said Friday.

The rally in the capital’s sprawling Kim Il-Sung square on Thursday was attended by top party and military officials, as well as police workers and students, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

A number of speakers addressed the rally, praising Tuesday’s test as the “brilliant fruition of the extraordinary decision and matchless gut of the dear respected Kim Jong-Un”, KCNA said, in reference to the leader’s courage.

The young leader, who took over after the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011, did not attend the rally.

It was the North’s third test, following previous detonations in 2006 and 2009, and seismic data suggested it was significantly more powerful.

“It serves as a striking demonstration of the might of a scientific and technological power and a military power capable of manufacturing any strike,” KCNA said.

North Korea said the test — widely condemned by the international community — was a direct response to UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang after its long-range rocket launch in December.

Pyongyang accused the United States of leading the sanctions charge in the UN Security Council, and speakers at Thursday’s rally threatened “merciless retaliatory blows” if the US pushed tougher sanctions after the nuclear test.

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