Since the U S is pre-occupied with Iraq, the North Koreans
openly laugh at Bush and get back into their nuclear projects
Since the U S did little or nothing when the North Koreans declared that they
had a nuclear bomb, the North Koreans began to openly resume their nuclear
The U S was powerless to stop the shipment of 15 Scud missiles headed to the
Middle East last week. It did not even matter that these missiles can be
armed with nuclear warheads and have a 1000 mile range.
All the emphasis on Iraq has allowed North Korea to do as it pleases as it
continues to laugh at the Bush administration. The North Koreans also
emphasize the reality that the war in Iraq is about oil and not about weapons of
December 12, 2002
North Korea Ends Nuke Plant Freeze
by Christopher Torchia AP
SEOUL, South Korea (Dec. 12) - Raising fears of a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea said Thursday it will immediately reactivate a nuclear power plant that U.S. officials suspect was being used to develop weapons.
A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said his country would revive the old, Soviet-designed nuclear reactor and resume construction of other nuclear facilities to supply desperately needed power. KCNA, the North's state-run news agency, quoted the spokesman but did not name him.
The nuclear program was suspended under a 1994 deal with Washington, averting a possible war on the Korean Peninsula. Experts say North Korea could quickly extract enough plutonium from its old facilities to make several nuclear weapons.
The official said North Korea was obliged to revive the program because of the U.S.-led decision last month to suspend annual oil shipments of 500,000 tons to the North. The suspension of the shipments - a key provision of the 1994 deal - was designed to pressure North Korea to give up a more recent nuclear program based on uranium enrichment.
The United States says the uranium-based program violated a nuclear arms control clause in the 1994 pact.
''The prevailing situation compelled the (North Korean) government to lift its measure for nuclear freeze ... and immediately resume the operation and construction of its nuclear facilities to generate electricity,'' the spokesman was quoted as saying in comments that were monitored by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
''Our country faced an immediate problem in electricity generation because the United States has virtually abandoned its obligations,'' the spokesman said.
''Our principled stand is that the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula should be resolved peacefully,'' the spokesman said. ''It's totally up to the United States whether we will freeze our nuclear facilities again.''
Although the spokesman left open the possibility of dialogue to solve the standoff, the prospect that North Korea might reactivate its plutonium-based nuclear program had long been feared by U.S. and South Korean officials.
South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who has sought to reconcile with North Korea, received a briefing from his national security advisers.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said he believes North Korea already has one or two nuclear weapons. The communist country is also a major vendor of missiles and missile technology.
The North Korean announcement followed the seizure and release this week of a ship carrying North Korean Scud missiles to Yemen. North Korea's missile customers have also included Libya, Iran, Syria, Pakistan and Egypt.
''We can only speculate that yesterday's incident and North Korea's electricity shortage in the winter propelled North Korea to make a response,'' said Kim Sung-han of the state-run Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security in Seoul.
U.S. officials say North Korea told them in October that it had a secret program to enrich uranium to make nuclear weapons. The Bush administration has vowed to try to solve the problem through diplomacy.
Under the 1994 pact, North Korea agreed to freeze the plutonium program in return for two modern, light-water reactors built by a U.S.-led consortium. North Korea often complained about delays in construction of the reactors, which are several years behind schedule.
North Korea had a 5-megawatt plutonium reactor at Yongbyon and two bigger reactors, with capacities of 50 megawatts and 200 megawatts respectively, under construction when it signed the 1994 agreement with the United States.
About 8,000 plutonium fuel rods were separated from the frozen 5-megawatt reactor and sealed in protective metal cases for permanent disposal under the supervision of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA.
Experts say North Korean scientists could quickly reprocess the spent fuel rods into weapons-grade plutonium. IAEA inspectors are currently monitoring the rods.
At the height of the confrontation over North Korea's plutonium-based program in 1994, a North Korean negotiator threatened to turn Seoul into ''a sea of fire.'' Fearing war, residents of the South rushed to stores to stock up on food and other supplies.
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