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N. Koreans denounce sanctions at big rally

TENS of thousands of North Koreans shouted slogans to denounce international sanctions at a rally in central Pyongyang yesterday, as the country vowed to enlarge its atomic arsenal and warned of a "fire shower of nuclear retaliation" in the event of a United States attack.

The rally to mark the anniversary of the 1950 outbreak of the Korean War came a day after US President Barack Obama extended economic sanctions against North Korea for another year, saying North Korea's possession of "weapons-usable fissile material" and its proliferation risk "continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat" to the US, according to the White House Website.

The US measures are on top of United Nations sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear test in May. The UN sanctions bar members from buying weapons from or selling them to North Korea. They also ban the sale of luxury goods and financial transactions.

In Pyongyang, an estimated 100,000 people packed the main square, shouting "Let's smash!" in unison while punching clenched fists in the air, footage in North Korea showed.

North Korea's "armed forces will deal an annihilating blow that is unpredictable and unavoidable, to any 'sanctions' or provocations by the US," Pak Pyong Jong, first vice chairman of the Pyongyang City People's Committee, told the crowd.

State-run newspapers ran editorials accusing the US of invading the country in 1950 and of looking for an opportunity to attack again.


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