Sunday, September 12, 2004

Pyongyang: cloudy, 15,000 degrees 

Something's going boom in North Korea again:
"South Korea first saw signs of an explosion in North Korea last week from a satellite that showed a 'peculiar cloud', but Seoul doubts Pyongyang would test a nuclear bomb so close to China."
"We cannot confirm whether it had the characteristics of a mushroom cloud," a senior South Korean official has told Reuters. But, "Yonhap [news agency] quoted sources in China as saying a mushroom cloud up to 4 km (2.5 miles) in diameter was seen after the blast."

Nuclear or non-nuclear, "peculiar clouds" over a communist country are rarely a good thing. I remember (I won't say that it's "seared - seared in my memory" because you might think I'm lying) learning in 1986 about the Chernobyl accident from Radio Free Europe when the radioactive cloud reached Sweden and Germany. Unfortunately, by that time it has been passing over my head for a good few days. What a delightful surprise it was to learn about that particular weather pattern. I sincerely hope that whatever has recently exploded in North Korea will be slightly safer for the Koreans and the Chinese. At this stage, one of the North's many munition factories seems to be the likely culprit. I wonder whether "Syrian technicians" were involved in this one too, like the Ryongchon Station incident a few months ago. Stay tuned.


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