Pyongyang lauds achievements as all seems calm

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Pyongyang lauds achievements as all seems calm

A day ahead of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s birthday, Chinese official media reported that the streets in Pyongyang were calm, while official media in the reclusive Communist state continued to boast that it had “successfully” detonated its first hydrogen bomb on Wednesday.

Kim, who reportedly signed the final command to detonate the hydrogen bomb on Sunday, is believed to turn 33 today.

His age has long been kept a state secret and North Korean media never officially marked his birthday until last year, in contrast to founding father Kim Il Sung’s birthday, which was celebrated annually as the biggest event of the year.

However, this year, the mood presented in state media ahead of the young leader’s birthday was full of optimism.

“The spectacular success made by the DPRK in the H-bomb test this time is a great deed of history, a historic event of the national significance, as it surely guarantees the eternal future of the nation,” the Rodong Sinmun posted in a statement on Thursday.

In a separate report, the newspaper claimed that North Korean citizens had cried tears of joy when the news was broadcast across state-run Korean Central Television.

The nation’s official mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency also quoted Kim Myong-son, who manages a furnace shop at the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex, as saying that all the employees at the complex had been full of “mettle and passion” upon hearing the news.

An official at the Korean People’s Army was also said to have used the North Korean expression, “Be like a tiger who has grown wings,” in reference to the fact that the army could potentially become equipped with hydrogen bombs and nukes.

But while North Korean state media lauded the nation’s achievements, the general scene in Pyongyang was peaceful and calm, according to CCTV, China’s official media there.

A correspondent at China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said Thursday that it could not confirm a mass performance or event.

Pyongyang claimed on Wednesday that it had conducted a successful test on its first hydrogen bomb, also known as a thermonuclear device. However, most experts have remained skeptical about its claim, since it means North Korea would have first had to succeed at miniaturizing an atomic bomb.

While the North has repeatedly declared itself a nuclear-armed state, this was the first time a North Korean leader declared it had tested and was scientifically capable of producing hydrogen bombs.

BY KIM SO-HEE, YEH YOUNG-JUNE [kim.sohee0905@joongang.co.kr]

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