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North Korea Threatens To Rebuild Nuclear Weapons Reactor

By | September 15, 2008

      New North Korean Missile Launching Facility Taking Shape

      North Korea, which with great fanfare demolished a portion of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor that produced plutonium for nuclear weapons, now is threatening to rebuild the facility, claiming that other nations aren’t living up to agreements.

      That prompted Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general who formerly was the South Korean foreign minister, to express concern and opposition to any reconstruction, according to The Korea Herald, a South Korean newspaper, which quoted news reports.

      The United States, not trusting that North Korea will abide by agreements reached in six-party talks, is developing and employing a multi-layered ballistic missile defense shield.

      That includes the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system in silos in Alaska and California; a sea-based Aegis control system paired with Standard Missile-3 interceptors; an emergent Airborne Laser system; the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, and more.

      Not only has North Korea built nuclear weapons and detonated one underground, the isolated rogue regime also has developed missiles of steadily longer range, including one launched in the 1990s that arced over Japan before falling into the sea.

      North Korea also mass-fired several missiles in 2006, all of which worked except for failure of a Taepo Dong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile several seconds after launch.

      Work continues on developing the long-range missile.

      Now, North Korea is building a new, improved missile launch site some 30 miles from the border with China, according to the BBC.

      That new missile launching site was located by Jane’s with the help of a private satellite imagery analyzing firm. It is larger and more advanced than the existing launching facility.

      Meanwhile, Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader, reportedly has suffered a stroke and undergone brain surgery.

      Kim may be paralyzed on one side, the paper reported.

      "I only hope that any situation happening in DPRK should not affect negatively what has been going on in terms of denuclearization process … of the Korean peninsula as agreed by the six parties," Ban was quoted as saying. The acronym stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name for North Korea.

      "I’m also concerned deeply by DPRK’s decision to go back to reassembling the nuclear facilities. They must commit to their agreement among the six-party talks for the early realization of the denuclearization process, Ban was quoted as saying.

      The United States and North Korea are locked in dispute in the six-party talks, with the United States saying it must check the veracity of thousands of pages of documents that North Korea provided concerning its nuclear development program.

      Those documents only tell of the plutonium production effort. But the documents are coated with traces of highly enriched uranium.

      Further, North Korea has thus far not turned over to international authorities even one of its nuclear weapons.

      Meanwhile, North Korea has complained that the United States hasn’t yet removed it from the list of nations sponsoring terrorism. North Korea has exported sensitive weapons technology to rogue states.

      It is unclear whether Il’s poor health may mean that North Korea now will ignore any disarmament moves it may have promised to institute, as part of the six-party talks.

      The North Korean military opposed some of the concessions that North Korea made in the talks.

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