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ROK Obtained Tip on NK`s Purchase of Centrifugal Separator

ROK Obtained Tip on NK`s Purchase of Centrifugal Separator

Posted October. 21, 2002 23:04,   


The intelligence regarding North Korea`s development of enriched uranium South Korea secured and offered to the US in 1999 was reportedly that the North purchased centrifugal materials needed for concentrating uranium.

The Donga Ilbo reported on the 21st that the South Korean government secured intelligence regarding North Korea`s enriched uranium development and offered it to the US in 1999.

Defense Minister Lee Jun said that the intelligence was about North Korea`s purchase of materials needed for centrifugal separator from overseas, officially confirming the newspaper`s report.

Lee`s remark came at an exclusive meeting with a reporter of the newspaper before the meeting of National Assembly`s Defense Committee. He added that the Defense Ministry has kept a close eye on North Korea since it secured the intelligence in 1999.

Hwang Eui-don, Defense Ministry spokesman also said in a press conference that the South Korean government acquired the information and offered in to the US and that both countries have established a close intelligence collaboration in an attempt to track down the suspicion that North Korea has secretly developed nuclear weapons.

He also said that the whole truth surfaced in August, when John Bolton, US Undersecretary of State, visited South Korea and produced decisive information that North Korea is developing clandestine nuclear weapons using enriched uranium.

The Grand National Party (GNP) held a series of meetings and urged the government to explain why it has covered up the North`s nuclear development plan.

Nam Kyoung-pil, GNP spokesman, said in a statement that the government has deceived the public by covering up the intelligence that North Korea has planned to develop nuclear weapons from 1999.

At the parliamentary Defense Committee held yesterday in order to deliver the defense budget for fiscal year 2003, Rep. Park Se-hwan of the GNP said, “The government obtained related information for the first time in 1999, but it has never raised the issue in a series of talks between the two Koreas. It appears that the government has kept it in the closet in order to keep its Sunshine Policy rolling.”

But Rep. Lee Man-sup of the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) said that not only the South Korean government but also the US government have known the fact that North Korea tried to purchase centrifugal separator through a Japanese company in early 1999. He added that most important is to solve the nuclear issue renewed by North Korea`s admission.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com