News / Asia

Diplomats Hold Talks in Asia About N. Korea's Uranium Enrichment Program

Diplomats Hold Talks in Asia About N. Korea's Uranium Enrichment Program
Diplomats Hold Talks in Asia About N. Korea's Uranium Enrichment Program

U.S. diplomats, intelligence officers and other officials have rushed to Asia for consultations following North Korea's claim to have secretly constructed a uranium enrichment facility. Among the South Korean responses under discussion: bringing American nuclear weapons back into the country.

Provocative program

After his meeting at the South Korean foreign ministry on Monday, the U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, said "this is not a crisis."

But he added Pyongyang's new uranium enrichment program is provocative.

"This is clearly a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874. It is a violation of North Korea's commitments under the September 2005 joint statement. And it's a violation of other commitments that they have made to us and other partners in the six-party process," Bosworth said.

American scientists, who visited North Korea this month, say they were shown more than 1,000 new centrifuges for processing uranium.

Nuclear re-deployment

Among the reactions here: Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said South Korea would consider redeploying U.S. tactical nuclear weapons on its soil.

Kim made the remark in response during a parliament committee meeting. He said the issue could be raised during a meeting next month of a U.S.-South Korean military committee devoted to deterring North Korea's nuclear programs.

The U.S. withdrew nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991, and a Defense Ministry spokesman says that until now, South Korea had not considered reintroducing them.

Talks under way

The U.S delegation has gone to Tokyo for discussions with Japanese officials and later will hold talks in Beijing.

The Japanese government calls North Korea's claimed uranium enrichment "absolutely unacceptable."

China has been trying to revive six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programs, which began in 2003. Pyongyang agreed to shutter its nuclear facilities in exchange for fuel aid and a commitment by Washington and Tokyo to discuss establishing diplomatic relations. But the North pulled out of the talks two years ago after the United Nations condemned its launch of a satellite.

Discovery during visit

Three experts from Stanford University, in the U.S. state of California, visited North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear site on November 12.

Former U.S. intelligence analyst Robert Carlin says he and his colleagues were shown the facility and told it is already producing low-grade enriched uranium.

"If it is, then the North Koreans are much more technologically capable, their [nuclear] industry is operating at a higher level than people imagine," he said.

Carlin said he doubts the North Koreans mastered the technology without outside help.

"It's quite possible, and maybe even likely, that they got some sort of external assistance and very likely candidates are either Iran or Pakistan," he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the technology would allow Pyongyang to increase the number of nuclear weapons beyond the few it is presumed to have.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid