NKorea holds more mass rallies to celebrate nuclear test
AFP | October 29 2006
North Korea Sunday held more mass rallies nationwide to celebrate its first nuclear test and boost anti-US sentiment amid news reports it was stepping up counter-intelligence efforts.
Soldiers and other citizens gathered "to hail the successful historic nuclear test" at the separate rallies held in 12 different cities and counties across the country, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The rallies marked a third consecutive week of public celebrations of the October 9 blast, which immediately sparked US-led United Nations Security Council sanctions.
"They branded the US imperialists as a vicious foe of peace," the agency reported in a dispatch monitored here, referring to speakers at the rallies.
It added the North Korean "servicepersons and people felt proud... and confident of the emergence of a great, prosperous, powerful socialist nation."
Three separate rallies took place, in South Pyeongan, Jagang and Kangwon provinces in North Korea on October 25 following two mass public events in Pyongyang on October 17 and 20, according to KCNA.
The latest Pyongyang rally drew more than 100,000 torch-carrying people to Kim Il-Sung Square in the capital to mark the nuclear test, the agency said.
Despite the elated mood, North Korea faces mounting pressure as a result of the sanctions, which allow for inspections of cargo going into and out of the country.
North Korea has been urged to return to six-way nuclear disarmament talks - which also group the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.
The Stalinist regime has boycotted the talks since November in protest at US financial sanctions over its alleged money laundering and counterfeiting.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency said, quoting an unnamed source in the Chinese city of Sehnyang near North Korea, that Pyongyang was tightening its grip on nuclear-related information.
"North Korea's police ordered, on October 15, its branch offices to step up efforts to check and monitor people suspected of collecting national secrets on nuclear and military activities," the source told Yonhap.
The North has also reinforced its security presence along the border with China as part of such counter-intelligence efforts, according to the source.
Unusual activities have been continuing in a rugged area of North Korea where the communist state carried out its first nuclear test this month, Yonhap and other South Korean media reported Saturday.
But Seoul officials said it remained unclear whether the activities in Punggyeri, in the northeast of North Korea, were related to preparations for a second nuclear test.
Brisk vehicle movements and the unloading of large reels of cable were spotted by satellite ahead of the first test.
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