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Report: N.Korea’s Plutonium Production Exaggerated

Posted June. 02, 2008 03:00,   


The New York Times yesterday said plutonium production by North Korea was smaller than estimated by U.S. intelligence, stirring debate over whether Washington overstated Pyongyang’s nuclear activities.

The daily said the 18,000-page declaration submitted by North Korea to the United States contains information that North Korea produced 37 kilograms of plutonium, though the Bush administration is declining to disclose the data.

While the amount is larger than what North Korea acknowledged (30 kilograms), it is less than the 40 to 50 kilograms estimated by American intelligence. Washington had said Pyongyang was capable of producing six to 10 nuclear weapons using the plutonium it produced.

The New York Times said the U.S. government does not accept the documents at face value, and is wary of the numbers they have seen. State Department officials have assembled a team of experts to analyze the documents, which could take weeks.