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NK Flip Flops With Nuke Threat, Dialogue Offer

Posted September. 05, 2009 08:05,   


North Korea yesterday said its reprocessing of spent fuel rods has entered the final stage and that Pyongyang is making weapons from extracted plutonium.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency said Pyongyang’s ambassador to the U.N. sent a letter describing its nuclear activities to the chairman of the U.N. Security Council,” adding, “Uranium-enrichment tests were successful and have entered the completion phase.”

The announcement indicates that the communist country can make nuclear weapons using not only extracted plutonium but also enriched uranium.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry had said in a June 13 statement, “All of the newly extracted plutonium will be used to produce weapons. We have reprocessed more than a third of the spent fuel rods and will start the uranium enrichment program.”

The letter to the U.N. Security Council president reportedly said, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea firmly rejects the U.N. Security Council’s unfairly concocted Resolution 1874, which violates our sovereignty and dignity. If the U.N. Security Council continues to impose tough sanctions on us, we will take tough self-defense measures that we’ve already mentioned.”

The letter, however, did not specify what the self-defense measures will be.

Pyongyang, however, signaled its intent to hold dialogue with Washington and the world body on lifting international sanctions on North Korea.

“The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is closely related to U.S. nuclear policy toward us,” the North said. “If (the U.N. Security Council) had not taken issue with our peaceful launch of a satellite, we wouldn’t have taken tough action such as our second nuclear test.”

To this, South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said, “It’s truly regrettable that the North took action against U.N. Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874.”

kyle@donga.com spear@donga.com