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(LEAD) N. Korean leader boasts nuke test as 'great victory' at celebration

2017/09/10 16:18

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(ATTN: ADDS updates on the playing of a video footage of a warhead presumed to be a hydrogen bomb in paras 6-7)

SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hailed the latest nuclear test as "a great victory" at a celebration banquet, and praised the officials and experts for their efforts in carrying out the successful experiment, its state media said Sunday.

The Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea hosted a feast to mark the North's sixth and the most powerful test conducted last week, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Last Sunday, Pyongyang said it conducted a hydrogen bomb test at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the country's northeast, which it claimed can fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States.

This file photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 10, 2017, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un holding hands with other ranking officials at a banquet in celebration of its latest nuclear test conducted on Sept. 3. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap) This file photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 10, 2017, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un holding hands with other ranking officials at a banquet in celebration of its latest nuclear test conducted on Sept. 3. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Kim appeared at the banquet hall in the Mokran House, attended by other ranking military officials, and heaped praise on the attendees for "most proudly and realistically carrying out the tasks," the state mouthpiece said.

Although it did not specify when the banquet was held, it is presumed to have taken place Saturday, which marked the 69th founding anniversary of the regime's establishment.

During the banquet, they played video footage on a large screen of what is presumed to be a hydrogen bomb warhead being assembled by its scientists, according to its state television network.

Three scientists, most likely nuclear experts, were seen as standing next to the peanut-shaped weapon that had "Hydrogen Bomb" written on the outside. They were looking into a dashboard-like device beside the warhead.

Its latest nuke provocation has intensified tension on the peninsula to a new high, prompting the United Nations Security Council to push for a stronger sanctions resolution against the repressive regime, including an oil embargo and a freeze on Kim's assets.

The United States officially requested the UNSC to vote on its draft resolution Monday.

Kim called the nuke test "a great victory won by the Korean people at the cost of their blood," and called on the officials to "follow the fighting spirit and trait of the nuclear combatants," the KCNA said.

The Korean People's Army Vice Marshal Hwang Pyong-so, Premier Pak Pong-ju and Choe Ryon-hae, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party, were also present at the banquet.

An art performance was held on the sidelines of the celebration, which was attended by Kim and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, it added.

The state media also reported its government had a separate banquet attended by ranking officials, including Kim Yong-nam, to celebrate its 69th founding anniversary of the regime.

There were yet no signs of imminent additional provocations by the North that could lead to another missile or nuclear test, the South's government said. The North has often timed major provocations with important national anniversaries.

This file photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 10, 2017, shows a banquet held for the North Korean scientists and ranking officials in celebration of its latest nuclear test. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap) This file photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 10, 2017, shows a banquet held for the North Korean scientists and ranking officials in celebration of its latest nuclear test. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr

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