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Monday, September 13, 2004

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | N Korea says it blew up mountain

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | N Korea says it blew up mountain: "
N Korea says it blew up mountain
North Korea has given its first explanation for a huge blast last week which prompted speculation it had carried out a nuclear test.
The country's foreign minister, Paek Nam-sun, said the blast was in fact the deliberate demolition of a mountain as part of a huge, hydro-electric project.
His remarks came in response to a call for information by the visiting UK Foreign Office minister, Bill Rammell.
North Korea had said nothing about the incident until now.
After meeting with Mr Paek, Mr Rammell said North Korea had agreed to his request that a British diplomat be allowed to visit the scene of the blast, near the country's northern border.
Mr Rammell welcomed the fact that North Korea had provided an explanation for the blast and agreed to the request.
'Having asked the vice foreign minister this morning for our ambassador and other ambassadors to be allowed to visit the scene of the explosion I am very pleased the North Koreans have agreed to the request,' Mr Rammell said.
'Peculiar cloud'
The United States and South Korea had already played down suggestions that the explosion, near Yongjo-ri in Yanggang Province, was caused by a nuclear device.
'There was no indication that was a nuclear event of any kind. Exactly what it was, we're not sure,' US Secretary of State Colin Powell told ABC television on Sunday.
The blast is said to have happened on Thursday as the Stalinist state celebrated its National Day.
It created what officials in Seoul say was a peculiar-shaped cloud.
The incident and the fears it has provoked around the world are another illustration of the enormous tension between the regime and the international community, says"

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