PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA—A press release issued by the state-run Korean Central News Agency Monday confirmed that the Oct. 9 underground nuclear test in North Korea's Yanggang province successfully exploded the communist nation's total gross domestic product for the past four decades.

The economic-blast radius of the test

"This is a grand day for the Democratic Peoples Republic Of Korea, whose citizens have sacrificed their wages, their food, and their lives so that our great nation could test a nuclear weapon thousands of feet beneath our own soil," read an excerpt from the statement. "Now the rest of the world must stand up and take notice that the DPRK, too, is capable of decimating years of its wealth at any given moment."

North Korea's announcement would appear to support the CIA's intelligence information on the blast. According to the CIA, over 500 tons of compressed purchasing power, the equivalent of 40 years of goods and services produced by the impoverished country, vaporized in 560 billionths of one second. The device consumed 15 years of peasant wages' worth of uranium, two decades of agricultural- and fishery-export profits' worth for its above-ground emplacement tower, and the lifetime earnings of the entire workforce of the Kilchu fish-canning factory for tungsten/carbide-steel bomb casings.

"A nuclear device that size explodes with the force of 10 to 15 tons of TNT, or a moderately sized economic boom," said Ronald Shimokawa, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "The detonation most likely sent the burning, liquified remains of North Korea's economy deep into the Earth's core."

Across the country, North Korean citizens cheered wildly after learning their nation had violently transformed the equivalent of 2.3 billion hot meals, 11 million housing units, and 1,700 hospitals into their component atoms. Others celebrated by gleaning recently harvested rice paddies for leftover grains.

North Korea

"This fraction-of-a-second blast is what I, and my parents before me, have given up everything to achieve," said tractor driver Chin Lee-Park, whose machine was cannibalized for bomb derrick parts in 1997.

"It is truly a great day for North Korea," added Lee-Park, who then died due to a combination of malnutrition and tuberculosis.

The North Korean government has long been suspected of building up a clandestine stockpile of capital, evidenced by their tendency to shut down national programs that provide its citizens with food, clothing, medicine, shelter, transportation, water, sanitation, education, living wages, and means of communication. A North Korean diplomat defended the decision, saying that citizens "need to make certain sacrifices so their country can afford the basic human right of national security."

International suspicions intensified earlier this month, when satellite surveillance revealed that Kilchu farmers had burned the nation's last remaining wheat field to make room for the test site, that peasant shacks were being dismantled to provide the necessary materials to construct a cradle in which the bomb could be lowered into the ground, and that thousands of starving, near-naked Sangpyong-ri residents were digging an 800-meter vertical underground shaft with wooden rice spoons. In addition, an estimated 75 percent of North Korea's metallurgical wealth and gypsum stockpiles were repurposed for use as stemming materials to backfill the test site's hole prior to detonation.

With the test, North Korea joins an exclusive group of nations that spends a huge percentage of their GDP on nuclear weapons programs.

Yet, despite North Korea's claim that it will proceed with further nuclear testing, the international community is skeptical of whether it has the means to do so, in wake of news over the weekend that leader Kim Jong-Il has authorized the use of the remaining three percent of North Korea's GDP for the construction of six monuments bearing his likeness.