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North Korea has paraded the nuclear scientists who played a part in the country's recent self-trumpeted hydrogen bomb detonation. Nearly 100,000 North Koreans turned up in capital Pyongyang to cheer the scientists, the state news agency said.
The pictures published by the regime's mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) show the public waving decorative flowers at the procession of vehicles. A series of nearly a dozen decorated buses were seen carrying the scientists and other officials who were involved in the nuclear test. Though Pyongyang claimed it was a sophisticated H-bomb blast, experts have cast serious doubts on the claims.
The KCNA said the scientists left Pyongyang on 13 January after spending six days in the capital for the nuclear detonation, which violated UN regulations and sparked global concerns. The experts were leaving the capital a day after the country's leader Kim Jong-un honoured them for their efforts. The regime is known to gather massive crowds in rallies in order to boost its reputation both domestically and internationally.
During a ceremony in Pyongyang, Kim awarded state commendations to those responsible for the nuclear programme. He lauded scientists, government officials and technicians for "demonstrating the dignity and might of Kim Il-sung's and Kim Jong-il's Korea through Juche Korea's first successful H-bomb test".
He added: "The news about Juche Korea's first H-bomb test is imbuing the entire population with a surge of national pride and delight as victors," according to the KCNA dispatch.
A defiant Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test on 6 January putting the Korean peninsula into a frenzy. In response, the US flew a powerful nuclear-capable B-52 bomber in the region in a show of force against North Korea.
Tensions remain high on the peninsula as the standoff between the rival Koreas deepened over the nuclear test. South Korean forces fired warning shots at a North Korean drone, which briefly crossed the border before returning to its side.