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North Koreans rally against UN

TENS of thousands of North Koreans rallied in Pyongyang yesterday to condemn the UN's rebuke of the country's latest nuclear test amid concern North Korea could conduct another one.

The United States and South Korea are watching 11 underground sites across North Korea where it could conduct a third nuclear test, based on intelligence it may do so in protest of the UN Security Council sanctions, Seoul's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported yesterday.

Tension on the Korean peninsula spiked after North Korea declared on Saturday that it would accelerate its nuclear bomb-making program by producing more plutonium and uranium, two key ingredients.

The North also threatened war with any country that tries to stop its ships on the high seas as part of new Security Council sanctions passed in response to Pyongyang's May 25 nuclear test. It conducted its first test in 2006.

In Pyongyang, a massive crowd of North Koreans packed the capital's main square in a rally to condemn the UN resolution, footage from APTN in North Korea showed. APTN North Korea estimated the crowd at 100,000.

"We strongly condemn and wholly reject the UN Security Council's resolution on sanctions, fabricated at the instigation of US imperialism hell-bent on its attempt at stifling" North Korea, Kim Ki Nam, a top Workers' Party official, told the crowd. Participants clapped and chanted "Condemn! Reject!" in unison, pumping clenched fists into the sky.

North Korea is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least half a dozen atomic bombs, and a US government official said last week that Pyongyang may be preparing for another nuclear test, its third.

Also yesterday, South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted an unidentified intelligence official as saying the North may have already built two to three underground test sites near its known Punggye-ri site in the remote northeast, where it conducted its first and second tests.


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