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`North Korea Informed U.S. of Nuke Restoration`

Posted September. 05, 2008 07:17,   


North Korea has reportedly informed the United States in advance of its rebuilding of its main nuclear reactor in Yongbyon.

An official of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry in Seoul said in an unofficial news conference, “North Korea orally informed U.S. agents in Yongbyon of resuming its nuclear facilities Tuesday, and we were also informed by the U.S. government the same day.”

The U.S. was to remove North Korea Aug. 11 from the list of terrorist-sponsoring nations but did not. Three days later, North Korea stopped operations at its three main nuclear facilities –- a five-megawatt reactor, retreat facilities and plants producing nuclear fuel rods.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry said Aug. 26, “We stopped the nuclear disablement process and are considering the restoration of our nuclear facilities.” Pyongyang informed Washington Tuesday that it will reassemble its nuclear facilities.

All the equipment that had been removed and stored as part of the disablement process was moved back to the site Wednesday. Cleanup work of the remains of cooling tower, which remained untouched after an explosion June 27, also began.

North Korea’s moves are seen as its tough response to the U.S., which has delayed removing Pyongyang from the U.S. terrorist list despite submitting a report on its nuclear program as agreed.

Certain analysts, however, call these simply brinkmanship tactics as North Korea does not intend to disrupt the six-party talks since U.S. and International Atomic Energy Agency agents have not been told to leave Yongbyon. Moreover, some of the facility`s operations were resumed in the presence of the agents.

If Pyongyang had no will to negotiate, it would have likely kicked out the agents in Yongbyon instead of restoring its nuclear facilities.

Though North Korea has begun to restore its nuclear facilities, a great deal of time is needed to produce plutonium.

South Korea`s chief nuclear negotiator Kim Sook will hold talks with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill in Beijing Friday and with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei Saturday.