Reading work sample
North Korea says it will restart their reactors. (NYtimes.com) by Choe sang-Hun and Mark Landler
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Tuesday that it would put all its nuclear facilities — including its operational uranium-enrichment program and its reactors mothballed or under construction — to use in expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal, sharply raising the stakes in the escalating standoff with the United States and its allies.
The announcement by the North’s General Department of Atomic Energy came two days after the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said his nuclear weapons were not a bargainingchip and called for expanding his country’s nuclear arsenal in “quality and quantity” during a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
The decision will affect the role of the North’s uranium-enrichment plant in its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of the capital, Pyongyang, a spokesman for the nuclear department told the Korean Central News Agency. It was the first time North Korea said it would use the plant to make nuclear weapons. Since first unveiling it to a visiting American scholar in 2010, North Korea had insisted that it was running the plant to make reactor fuel to generate electricity, though Washington suggested that its purpose was to make bombs.
The decision will affect the role of the North’s uranium-enrichment plant in its main nuclear in Yongbyon, north of the capital, Pyongyang, a spokesman for the nuclear department told the Korean Central News Agency. It was the first time North Korea said it would use the plant to make nuclear weapons. Since first unveiling it to a visiting American scholar in 2010, North Korea had insisted that it was running the plant to make reactor fuel to generate electricity, though Washington suggested that its purpose was to make bombs.
Saying “work will be put into practice without delay,” the spokesman also said North Korea would refurbish and restart its mothballed nuclear reactor in Yongbyon. The five-megawatt graphite-moderated reactor had been the main source of plutonium bomb fuel for North Korea until it was shut down under a short-lived nuclear disarmament deal with the United States in 2007. North Korean engineers are believed to have extracted enough plutonium for six to eight bombs — including the devices detonated in 2006 and 2009 in underground nuclear tests — from the spent fuel unloaded from the reactor.
It is unknown whether North Korea’s third nuclear test in February used some of its limited stockpile of plutonium or fuel from its uranium-enrichment program, whose scale and history remain a mystery.
Mr. Kim has recently raised tensions with a torrent of threats to attack the United Statesand South Korea with pre-emptive nuclear strikes. But this week, he appeared to shift his tone slightly by reiterating that his nuclear weapons were a deterrent that helped his country focus on the more pressing domestic issue of rebuilding the economy.
Even so, a restarting of the reactor and weapons-producing role for its uranium-enrichment plant would add to growing American concern over the North’s nuclear weapons program. The developments mean that the North would now have two sources of fuel for atomic bombs — plutonium and highly enriched uranium — and that Mr. Kim could become more strident in his demands.
In Beijing, the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Hong Lei, said China, the North’s main ally, felt “regretful” about the North’s announcement.
“We have noticed the statement made by the D.P.R.K. and feel regretful about it,” Mr. Hong said Tuesday at a daily briefing with reporters, using the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. China urges all parties “to remain calm and restrained,” he said.
The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said Tuesday that North Korea appears to be “on a collision course with the international community,” The Associated Press reported. Speaking in Andorra, where he is on an official visit, Mr. Ban said the crisis had gone too far and international negotiations were urgently needed.
China’s official Xinhua news agency issued comments from Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui that did not expressly single out North Korea but nonetheless signaled deepening worry about its actions and the response from the United States and its allies. Mr. Zhang told Xinhua that he had met with diplomats from the countries concerned and “expressed grave concern over current developments.” The report did not identify those countries.
Mr. Zhang, whose areas of responsibility include Asian affairs, repeated China’s call for restraint on the Korean peninsula, using more urgent language than his government has tended to use until now.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: April 2, 2013
An earlier version of this article misstated the amount of space that a uranium-enrichment plant would occupy. It is 600 square meters, not 60.
What do you think Kim Jong-un means when he says " my nuclear facilities are not a bargaining chip"
What is affected by North Korea's decision to build nuclear bombs?
How much plutonium are they believed to have found?
Summarize the order of what happened in this sample?
Which statement proves that Korea is serious about making nuclear bombs?