April 12, 2013

In N. Korea, flowers and missiles on display

Jean H. Lee / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 2)

But he also has enshrined the drive to build nuclear weapons — dubbed "the nation's treasure" here — as a key state goal, billed in Pyongyang as a necessary defense against what North Koreans see as a persistent U.S. nuclear threat. A new Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry will be created in line with the push, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Friday.

North Korea has decided to launch a "ministry of atomic industry" to advance its nuclear industry, increase the amount of nuclear material and improve its quality, the Korean Central News Agency said Friday.

KCNA said the decision by the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly was announced Thursday.

North Korea has spent decades trying to perfect a multistage, long-range delivery means for a nuclear bomb aimed at threatening the U.S., analysts say.

Pyongyang has acknowledged attempts to launch satellites into space aboard long-range rockets in 1998, 2009 and twice in 2012. North Korea also regularly stages short-range missile tests, and in 2006 a long-range missile launch broke apart shortly after liftoff.

North Korea says its rocket launches are part of a peaceful space program. But the U.N., Washington and others call the launches veiled tests of technology that can be used in ballistic missiles.

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