News / Asia

Multiple Uranium Enrichment Facilities Suspected in N. Korea

This satellite image provided by Space Imaging Asia shows the Yongbyon Nuclear Center, located north of Pyongyang, North Korea (2002 file photo)This satellite image provided by Space Imaging Asia shows the Yongbyon Nuclear Center, located north of Pyongyang, North Korea (2002 file photo)
x
This satellite image provided by Space Imaging Asia shows the Yongbyon Nuclear Center, located north of Pyongyang, North Korea (2002 file photo)
This satellite image provided by Space Imaging Asia shows the Yongbyon Nuclear Center, located north of Pyongyang, North Korea (2002 file photo)
Analysts are expressing little surprise about the revelation North Korea apparently has multiple facilities to enrich uranium that could be used to make nuclear weapons.
 
South Korea's defense ministry Friday revealed that intelligence satellites have detected additional facilities in North Korea where it suspects work is being done to produce weapons-grade uranium.
 
A South Korean senior official told reporters North Korea's uranium enrichment activities appear to be proceeding.
 
The senior official -- who the ministry asked not be more specifically identified -- explained uranium enrichment "facilities and activities have been identified based on joint analysis by South Korea and the United States" of various satellite imagery intelligence.
 
The defense ministry says the images would not be publicly released.
 
A vague reference to North Korea's uranium enrichment program is also contained in the "North Korean strategic weapons" section of South Korea's annual defense white paper (released Friday).
 
North Korea in 2010 allowed a team of U.S. scientists to tour one such uranium facility at Yongbyon. Other similar operations have been suspected. But no government, until now, has made a public statement acknowledging evidence of their existence.
 
Georgetown University visiting professor Balbina Hwang served as a U.S. State Department senior adviser to then-ambassador Chris Hill who headed Washington's delegation to the now stalled six-nation talks on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.
 
She does not see the revelation as a game changer.
 
"Countries have been operating under this assumption. And it was probably more than an assumption, in other words, that they had some sort of evidence," she said. "And it does nothing to change the U.S. attitude or probably the new government of South Korea's attitude towards North Korea."
 
South Korean voters on Wednesday elected Park Geun-hye to succeed another member of the  conservative Saenuri (New Frontier) Party, President Lee Myung-bak.
 
Uranium enrichment gives North Korea an alternative to its plutonium-based program to make nuclear bombs. The North is already believed to have 40 kilograms of plutonium - enough for several weapons.
 
In 2009, North Korea expelled personnel of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, from the Yongbyon facility.
 
That occurred five months after the last round of international talks were held about moving North Korea towards abandoning its nuclear programs. The six-way discussions had involved both Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
 
North Korea, on December 12, launched a three-stage rocket which deployed, for the first time, an object into orbit.
 
Pyongyang hailed the event as a mission to put a peaceful earth observation satellite into space.
 
But the international community condemned the launch as a violation of U.N. resolutions prohibiting North Korea from working on ballistic missile technology.
 
The U.N. Security Council is expected soon to impose additional sanctions on North Korea for conducting the provocative launch.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid