'Excitement' in N. Korea over nuclear test: state media

Posted at 02/13/13 2:27 PM

SEOUL - While the rest of the world reacted with outrage, North Koreans were swept up in a "storm of excitement" over their country's latest nuclear test, state media reported Wednesday.

In a series of Korean-language dispatches released the day after the test, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) interviewed "ordinary citizens" who were "thrilled" by Pyongyang's display of military power.

"People in Pyongyang couldn't hide their excitement," KCNA said, while state television showed footage of cheering, clapping citizens watching the test being announced on giant TV screens in the capital.

"The more I think about it, the better I feel deep in my heart," Kim Yong-Il, a 39-year-old train driver in Pyongyang, told KCNA.

"I'd like to tell the whole world that our response will only get stronger and stronger beyond imagination in the face of hostility by our enemies," he was quoted as saying.

The tone and content of the remarks dove-tailed perfectly with the official line from Pyongyang, which has warned of "stronger" actions to come that would be "beyond the imagination" of South Korea or the United States.

Events such as major missile launches and nuclear tests are usually followed by orchestrated displays of public joy on the streets of the North Korean capital.

Tuesday's test was widely condemned by the international community, led by the United States and the UN Security Council, which met in emergency session the same day.

All 15 Council members backed a statement which said the North was in "grave violation" of UN resolutions and highlighted a threat made last month to take "significant action" if Pyongyang staged a fresh nuclear test.

Oh Il-Jin, a 62-year-old college professor in Pyongyang, called the global reaction a "ridiculous farce," according to KCNA, and called for "merciless retaliation" against the United States.

In particular, he criticised condemnation of the North's long-range rocket launch in December, which Pyongyang said was aimed at putting a satellite in orbit, but which most of the world saw as a disguised ballistic missile test.

"The US keeps calling our satellite 'a missile.' I wish we could fire a real missile towards the sea off the US northeast, so that they could clearly see the difference between a satellite and a long-range missile," he told KCNA.

Several of those interviewed by the state-run agency restricted their comments to praising North Korea's new young leader Kim Jong-Un, whose domestic standing will be further boosted by the apparent success of Tuesday's test.

"As soon as I heard the news, I burst into chanting "Long Live the Respected Marshal!" said Kim Kyong-Soo, a 45-year-old public servant.

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