North Korea nuclear test
On February 12, 2013, North Korea unleashed its third - and largest - underground nuclear test, causing an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.9. The Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang said the test was the "first response" to what it called US threats. The test defied a UN move tightening sanctions against leader Kim Jong-un's regime three weeks before. The UN Security Council strongly condemned the test and vowed to take action against Pyongyang for an act that all major world powers, including traditional ally China, denounced.
Leftist group Utopia congratulates North Korea on nuclear blast
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A group of prominent leftists on the mainland posted a letter congratulating North Korea on Tuesday's nuclear test - in defiance of China's opposition and international condemnation of the blast.
The 1,700-word letter, posted online by the leftist group Utopia, addressed the North Korean leader as "respected comrade Kim Jong-un", claimed the successful test had gained North Korea the respect of the Chinese people and "people of conscience from around the world".
"The successful test, which was conducted despite pressure from various reactionary forces, proves that the Workers' Party and comrade Kim possess the capability and resolution to lead the socialist country to prosperity," the letter said. It was on the website of the group's bookstore.
The letter said "hostile forces" led by the United States had been trying to force "traitors" among China's communist leaders to "do something similar to the Soviet Union and betray the party and people" with their sanctions and smear campaign against Pyongyang. It did not elaborate on the identity of the "traitors".
It also compared the blast to the first nuclear test in China five decades ago and praised the determination of chairman Mao Zedong at the time, which had enhanced China's international status.
Fan Jinggang , operator of both the Utopia bookstore in Beijing and its website, said yesterday that the letter represented "a voice from the people".
"China now allows the existence of multiple voices, so there should be no problem in having it stated here," he said. Asked whether the nuclear test had built up tensions in the region, Fan said: "I don't see the necessity for any nuclear scare here."
In the letter, the group said North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons was "positive energy" to keep the "American imperialist force" at bay and maintain peace in East Asia.
Mainland microbloggers reacted with a flurry of mocking comments, with a few suggesting that the leftists be sent to North Korea promptly to take part in a nuclear test.
The group's own website, once a prominent leftist online forum that in recent years had featured supporting voices to former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai's Maoist campaign, was shut down last year when Bo fell from grace.