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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More