N. Korea Says It Is Making Nuclear Bombs
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea (news - web sites) said Thursday it has completed reprocessing its 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods and is using plutonium extracted from them to make atomic bombs.
"The (North) successfully finished the reprocessing of some 8,000 spent fuel rods," a spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the North's official news agency, KCNA. The spokesman was not named.
Accusing the United States of taking a "hostile policy" toward the North, the statement said that North Korea "made a switchover in the use of plutonium churned out by reprocessing spent fuel rods in the direction increasing its nuclear deterrent force."
North Korea also said it will reprocess more spent fuel rods to be produced from the small reactor in its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang.
Earlier this week, North Korea claimed that it was taking "practical measures" to boost its nuclear weapons program as a deterrent against what it calls a U.S. plan to invade.
The claim came as some U.S. intelligence analysts are becoming increasingly concerned that the communist regime may have three, four or even six nuclear weapons instead of the one or two the CIA
(news - web sites) had estimated.
New atomic bombs would give Pyongyang more authority at the negotiating table, and may allow it to part with one, either in a test or by selling it, experts say.
The United States and its allies are trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear programs. The North says it will do so only if the United States signs a nonaggression treaty, provides economic aid and opens diplomatic ties.
The nuclear dispute flared in October 2002 when U.S. officials said North Korea admitted running a secret nuclear weapons program in violation of international agreements.
Looks like thinks are heating up. I'm seriously wondering what the eventual response to North Korea is going to be from the international community. In all honesty, their government is certainly getting threatening, but I don't think it'd be a good idea for the USA to sign a non agression pact with north korea. I'm not in favor of going to war with them of course, but signing a non agression pact could bite us in the rear in the future, for sure.
[Edited 2003-10-02 10:17:22]