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Hwang: “Nuclear Facility in Yongbyon Has Been Unnecessary for 10 Years”

Hwang: “Nuclear Facility in Yongbyon Has Been Unnecessary for 10 Years”

Posted February. 21, 2007 07:10,   


Hwang Jang-yop, the former secretary of the North Korean Workers Party in charge of international affairs, disclosed in a Freedom North Korea Broadcast on February 19 that the nuclear facility in Yongbyon, which North Korea promised to shut down in exchange for one million tons of oil, was in fact already deemed unnecessary 10 years ago.

The former secretary Hwang said, “In fact, I heard the plutonium (extracted) with a graphite reactor is unusable directly from the secretary of munitions manufacture. Before that, they had frequently asked me to find a way as secretary of international affairs to import more plutonium, but then they said that it was no longer necessary. They said they found out how to make (nuclear weapons) with uranium 235. That was in 1996. Ten years have passed. They must possess more than enough to manufacture (nuclear weapons) there. They are denying it.”

He spoke of these facts during an interview with Voice of America in 2004.

“From a technical point of view, what they are promising to freeze is the erstwhile manufacture of plutonium in the Yongbyon district which uses the graphite reactor. Up until now, they have denied their partnership with Pakistan to enrich uranium,” he explained.

It means that North Korea initially attempted to develop nuclear weapons with the plutonium extracted from the graphite-moderated reactor in Yongbyon, but changed its plan by forming a partnership with Pakistan before 1996 and started to develop nuclear weapons with enriched uranium. There are two methods for manufacturing atomic bombs: using the plutonium produced by reprocessing nuclear fuel of a nuclear reactor, and using enriched uranium.

If former Secretary Hwang’s comments are found to be true, they will arouse considerable concerns. It will mean that North Korea is unfolding negotiations on a million tons of crude oil equivalent to more than 327 billion won with the U.S. and Japan by offering the disablement of a nuclear facility in Yongbyon which is not necessary for the North’s nuclear weapons program. When the formidable amount of humanitarian aid to be given by South Korea and the international community is considered, North Korea’s political and economic gain is much increased.