SEOUL (AFP/Reuters) - More than 100,000 troops and civilians staged a mass rally in Pyongyang to celebrate North korea 's nuclear test and praise the "matchless" bravery of leader Kim Jong-Un, state media said Friday.
The rally in the capital's sprawling Kim Il-Sung square on Thursday was attended by top party and military officials, as well as police workers and students, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. A number of speakers addressed the rally , praising Tuesday's test as the "brilliant fruition of the extraordinary decision and matchless gut of the dear respected Kim Jong-Un", KCNA said, in reference to the leader's courage.
The young leader, who took over after the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011, did not attend the rally .
It was the North's third test, following previous detonations in 2006 and 2009, and seismic data suggested it was significantly more powerful. "It serves as a striking demonstration of the might of a scientific and technological power and a military power capable of manufacturing any strike," KCNA said.
North korea said the test - widely condemned by the international community - was a direct response to UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang after its long-range rocket launch in December.
Pyongyang accused the United States of leading the sanctions charge in the UN Security Council, and speakers at Thursday's rally threatened "merciless retaliatory blows" if the US pushed tougher sanctions after the nuclear test.
While, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak said Friday that North korea can never be made to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, arguing that only regime collapse could remove the threat from Pyongyang.
As the UN Security Council continues to debate how to punish the North for its latest nuclear test, the outgoing president suggested the best way forward was to try to foment unrest among the North Korean people. "It has become impossible to have North korea give up its nuclear weapons through dialogue and negotiations", Lee told a meeting of senior dignitaries including former government ministers and religious leaders. "We cannot hope the North will part with its nuclear programmes until its regime changes or collapses", he said. "We can help change the North Korean people, if not the North Korean regime itself."
Lee is set to leave office in 10 days at the end of a five-year term marked by an almost complete breakdown in contacts between Seoul and Pyongyang.
A source, with direct knowledge of the message, also revealed on Friday that North korea has told its key ally, China, that it is prepared to stage one or even two more nuclear tests this year in an effort to force the United States into diplomatic talks with Pyongyang.
Further tests could also be accompanied this year by another rocket launch, said the source who has direct access to the top levels of government in both Beijing and Pyongyang. The isolated regime conducted its third nuclear test on Tuesday, drawing global condemnation and a stern warning from the United States that it was a threat and a provocation.
"It's all ready. A fourth and fifth nuclear test and a rocket launch could be conducted soon, possibly this year," the source said, adding that the fourth nuclear test would be much larger than the third at an equivalent of 10 kilotons of TNT.
The tests will be undertaken, the source said, unless Washington holds talks with North korea and abandons its policy of what Pyongyang sees as attempts at regime change.
Also on Friday, three Chinese government ships entered disputed waters, the Japanese coastguard said, as the two countries' soured relationship grew more complex following North korea 's nuclear test.
Maritime surveillance vessels sailed near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus, around 9:30 am (0030 GMT), according to the coastguard.
"Japan cannot accept this. This is extremely regrettable," Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a regular briefing Friday, adding that his ministry has already conveyed these sentiments to the Chinese embassy.
The relationship between the Asian giants has cooled over the territorial row, which triggered anti-Japan rallies across China last year.