(AP) SEOUL, South Korea – A large explosion occurred in the northern part of North Korea on an important anniversary of the communist regime, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Sunday.
Citing an unidentified source in Beijing, Yonhap said the explosion happened on Thursday in Yanggang province near the border with China. The damage and crater left by the explosion in Kim Hyong Jik county was big enough to be noticed by a satellite, the source said.
North Korea was founded on Sept. 9, 1948. Leader Kim Jong Il uses the occasion to stage performances and other events to bolster loyalty among the impoverished North Korean population.
Experts have speculated that North Korea might use a major anniversary to conduct a nuclear-related test, though there was no immediate indication that the reported explosion on Thursday was linked to Pyongyang’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
On April 22, train wagons at a railway station exploded in the North Korean town of Ryongchon, killing 160 people and injuring an estimated 1,300, according to some estimates. The blast was believed to have been sparked by a train laden with oil and chemicals that hit power lines.
The source that told Yonhap about the explosion last week said it was reportedly bigger than the train explosion in Ryongchon.