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Concerns Grow as Yongbyon Reactor Area Shows Activity

Posted May. 07, 2003 21:53,   


The U.S. plans to adopt a two-track approach toward North Korea that would combine new negotiations with pressure on the communist state by targeting its illegal drug and counterfeiting trade, the Washington Post reported as quoting U.S. and Asian officials on May 7.

This emerging consensus, which would bridge a gap that has emerged within the administration since the three-way talks in Beijing, will take concrete shape on May 7 (local time) at a meeting of President Bush`s top foreign policy advisers, the paper reported.

Intelligence analysts within the recent 48 hours have seen increasing signs that North Korea has begun reprocessing 8,000 spent fuel rods, the paper added.

“Human activity has increased at the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon,” a U.S. intelligence official said.

“In its developing posture toward North Korea, the U.S. administration plans to insist that any new talks include Japan and South Korea in addition to China,” officials said.

The U.S. also will hold out the prospect of a policy that would `tighten the screws` against North Korea`s lucrative illicit trade practices, officials said.

While the U.S. administration can not be too lenient with North Korea`s confrontational announcement at the Beijing talks, they have concluded that the North Koreans did put a proposal on the table, the paper reported.

Meanwhile, the Asahi newspaper stated that the North Korean nuclear issue will possibly unfold in three ways in a special article on North Korea`s nuke issue. They will come to a new agreement by diplomatic efforts; bombardment on nuclear facilities of North Korea; or dangerous new cold war tensions, in another words, blockading North Korea.

Bombing the nuclear facilities in North Korea, but even escalation of tension and conflict could possibly lead to war, the worst scenario for Japan, the paper reported.