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Special report from the first British journalist to report from the North Korean capital.

From The Telegraph.

"Our leader has shown the US what a strong nation we are." North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, is heading a mass victory campaign to celebrate the testing of the nation's first nuclear bomb, despite universal condemnation and the threat of sanctions.

In a series of rallies in the capital, Pyongyang, hundreds of thousands of people have been marshalled to glorify the nation's achievement. The nation may struggle to feed itself and regularly runs out of electricity, but on the first visit by a British journalist since the nuclear test early last month, it was clear that ordinary North Koreans, as well as the Government, were in defiant mood.

I (Peter Simpson of the Telegraph) spent four days in Pyongyang as part of a foreign business delegation. None of the Western doubts expressed about the test have surfaced here. There is instead the determination of a people ready to face whatever is thrown at them. "The US wants to invade but our leader has shown that we are strong," said one proud resident. "We are a powerful nation. We will survive any sanctions."

Reports from South Korea - still technically at war with the North since the Korean War ended in 1953 - said its neighbour had stepped up border security to prevent intelligence being leaked after the Oct 9 test. The continuing celebrations came as Pyongyang yesterday agreed to return to the "six-party talks" with South Korea, China, America, Russia and Japan, aimed at ending its nuclear programme. Although the talks have dragged on for three years, the decision was welcomed by Washington.

 But a British official said North Korea was on a knife-edge, uncertain what effect sanctions, the exact nature of which are still being debated by the United Nations, would have. "It's not certain the North Koreans have enough food for this winter," he said.

I remember seeing pictures last year of obviously starving children in a government day nursery - their parents were in work, but still could not feed their babies. That's no way to run a country. Lots of links if you follow to the original article. Update Thursday 2 November - this is particularly interesting.

Driving the streets of post-Stalinist Pyongyang is just like time travel