Washington said Thursday it would be a “very serious matter” if North Korea had really restarted its research reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
Recent satellite imagery suggests a five-megawatt plutonium reactor at the facility may be back in action.
The reactor is capable of producing six kilograms of plutonium a year that can be used for making nuclear weapons.
U.S. chief nuclear envoy Glyn Davies said that, if the reports are true, North Korea is violating its international obligations.
“It would violate a series of UN Security Council resolutions. It flies in the face of North Korea’s own commitments and promises they’ve made over the years.”
The Yongbyon reactor has been sitting idle since 2007, and the North had destroyed its cooling tower five years ago as one of confidence-building steps in six-party denuclearization talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.
What is confusing is that these latest reports come as Pyongyang appears to be showing a willingness to return to dialogue.
North Korea’s closest ally China noted the reports and reiterated its dedication to see the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
“China has always dedicated itself to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and to enacting its denuclearization. This is in the interest of all sides, and requires the collaborative efforts of all sides.”
Quoting a diplomatic source, Russia’s Interfax news agency said the nuclear reactor, which was built in the 1950s, is in a “nightmarish state” and warned of dire consequences if it was restarted.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, said it’s following the reports but added it doesn’t yet have a clear understanding of the situation.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
Cr : Arirang