While the rest of the world reacted with outrage, North Koreans were swept up in a “storm of excitement” over their country’s latest nuclear test, state media reported on Feb. 13.
In a series of Korean-language dispatches released the day after the test, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) interviewed “ordinary citizens” who were “thrilled” by Pyongyang’s display of military power.
“People in Pyongyang couldn’t hide their excitement,” KCNA said, while state television showed footage of cheering, clapping citizens watching the test being announced on giant TV screens in the capital.
“The more I think about it, the better I feel deep in my heart,” Kim Yong-Il, a 39-year-old train driver in Pyongyang, told KCNA.
“I’d like to tell the whole world that our response will only get stronger and stronger beyond imagination in the face of hostility by our enemies,” he was quoted as saying.
Events such as major missile launches and nuclear tests are usually followed by orchestrated displays of public joy on the streets of the North Korean capital.
The test on Feb. 12 was widely condemned by the international community, led by the US and the UN Security Council, which met in emergency session the same day.
Oh Il-Jin, a 62-year-old college professor in Pyongyang, called the global reaction a “ridiculous farce,” according to KCNA, and called for “merciless retaliation” against the US.