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North Korea`s Development of Enriched Uranium

Posted October. 17, 2002 22:53,   


It became known that North Korea, despite the Geneva Agreement between North and US, has secretly operated a nuclear program. Under the agreement, it should have frozen its nuclear activities. Nonetheless, it has developed high-quality uranium.

It also transpired that North Korea has built up a centrifuge in the size of a plant in order to develop nuclear warhead for itself, and, in test-running the facility, has consumed huge volume of electricity so far.

Some experts point out the possibility of recurrence of the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, which was originally triggered by North`s defection from the Nonproliferation Treaty, due to the recent activities of North for the development of nuclear weapons and its refusal to allow any inspection of its past activities including the inspection of the atomic energy testing complex in Yongbyun.

US Department of State and the White House announced on Oct. 16 (local time) that North admitted to its operation of the nuclear program to Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly while he was visiting North Korea, as presidential envoy, from Oct. 3rd to Oct. 5th.

Spokesperson for State Department, Richard Boucher confirmed, in the emergency statement released in the night of Oct. 16th, that Assistant Secretary Kelly and his delegation informed North that US has recently obtained the intelligence indicating that North Korea, breaking the Geneva Agreement, has maintained a nuclear weapons program.

Boucher added, "North criticized us and said that it considers the Geneva Agreement nullified. "

He continued, "We want a peaceful solution of the situation. Every country in this region [i.e. North East Asia] has interest in this matter, and none of them wants to see North Korea armed with nuclear weapons. "

Just before the announcement of Boucher, the spokesperson for the National Security Council said, "US and our allies are demanding that North Korea should perform all the duties in compliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty, and give up its nuclear weapons program in such a way as sufficient to prove that North really dispose end the program."

In the meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Kelly and Deputy Secretary John Bolton are expected to visit Japan to discuss the North Korean nuclear program. On their way to Japan, they arrived at Beijing, China, on Oct. 17th (Korean time).

CNN reported that US government got to obtain the intelligence verifying that North Korea maintains a nuclear weapons program based on the enrichment of uranium. According to the intelligence, North resumed its nuclear program in 1990s, just several years after the Geneva Agreement.

Ki-Heung Han Young-Sik Kim eligius@donga.com spear@donga.com