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Monday, September 13, 2004

BostonHerald.com - International News: U.S., South Korean officials say mushroom cloud in North not from nuclear blast

BostonHerald.com - International News: U.S., South Korean officials say mushroom cloud in North not from nuclear blast: "U.S., South Korean officials say mushroom cloud in North not from nuclear blast
By Associated Press
Sunday, September 12, 2004
SEOUL, South Korea - A huge mushroom cloud that reportedly billowed up from North Korea was not caused by a nuclear explosion, South Korean and U.S. officials said Sunday, but they said the cause was a mystery.

Secretary of State Colin Powell confirmed that unusual activity had recently been detected at some of North Korea's atomic sites, but said there was no concrete evidence the North's secretive communist regime was preparing for its first nuclear test explosion.

The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Sunday that a mammoth explosion in North Korea produced a mushroom cloud more than 2 miles across Thursday. It said the blast was stronger than an April explosion that killed 160 people and injured an estimated 1,300 at a North Korean railway station when a train carrying oil and chemicals apparently hit power lines.

``There was no indication that was a nuclear event of any kind,'' Powell said of Thursday's incident. ``Exactly what it was, we're not sure.''

Kim Jong-min, spokesman for the South Korean presidential office, told Yonhap: ``Currently, we are trying to find out in detail the exact character, cause and size of the accident, but we don't think North Korea conducted a nuclear test.''

China's government, which has the closest relations with North Korea, had no immediate comment about the reported explosion.

Before Yonhap's report, The New York Times' Sunday editions said senior U.S. intelligence officials had seen signs of activiti"

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