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AS MANY as 3000 people were killed or injured today when two trains carrying oil and liquefied petroleum gas collided and exploded at a North Korean train station, South Korean media reported.
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, reportedly had passed through the station as he returned from China hours earlier.
The number killed or injured could reach 3000, South Korea's all-news cable channel, YTN, reported, citing unnamed sources on the China-North Korea border.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency, quoting sources in the Chinese city of Dandong on the border with the North, said the explosion occurred about 1pm (2pm AEST) at Ryongchon. It said Kim passed through nine hours earlier, returning to Pyongyang.
Ryongchon is about 20 kms from the Chinese border.
"The area around Ryongchon station has turned into ruins as if it were bombarded," Yonhap quoted its unnamed sources as saying.
"Debris from the explosion soared high into the sky and drifted to Sinuju," a North Korean town on the border with China, it added.
Yang Jong-hwa, a spokeswoman of South Korea's Unification Ministry, said her ministry could not immediately confirm the reports. The ministry is in charge of relations with North Korea.
The Associated Press (via News.com.au)
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