North Korea hails nuclear programme 'progress'

North Korea claimed that it is making rapid progress on work to enrich uranium and build a light-water nuclear power plant.

The news increases worries that the communist country is developing another way to make atomic weapons.

Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the construction of an experimental light-water reactor and low enriched uranium are “progressing apace”.

The statement was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Concerns about North Korea’s atomic capability took on renewed urgency in November 2010 when a visiting American scientist was shown a uranium enrichment facility.

Ostensibly for civilian electricity, a nuclear power plant allows North Korea to enrich uranium, which at low levels can be used in power reactors but can also be used in nuclear bombs in addition to the country’s existing plutonium-based atomic weapons program.

Earlier this month, North Korean state media said “the day is near at hand” when the reactor will come into operation.

Washington says it is concerned about reported progress on the reactor construction, saying that would violate UN Security Council resolutions.

Five countries, including the United States, had been negotiating with North Korea to provide the nation with much-needed aid in exchange for disarmament.

North Korea pulled out of the disarmament talks in 2009 to protest against international condemnation of its prohibited long-range rocket test.

In recent months, North Korea has repeatedly expressed its willingness to rejoin the talks.

South Korea and US officials, however, have demanded the North first halt its uranium-enrichment programme, freeze nuclear and missile tests and allow international nuclear inspectors back into the country.

The North Korean statement today accused the US and its allies of “groundlessly” taking issue with the North’s peaceful nuclear activities.

They are “deliberately laying a stumbling block in the way of settling the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula through dialogue and negotiations”, the statement said.

Related Articles

North and South Korea agree to unified ice hockey team at Winter Olympics

North hasn’t changed strategy despite resumption of talks

Donald Trump open to talks with North Korea ’under the right circumstances’

North Korea to join Winter Olympics in South as tensions ease in rare talks

More in this Section

Two killed, dozens injured in Prague hotel blaze

Cardinal rebukes Pope of Chile ’slander’ comments on abuse

Latest: One gunman killed, three remain inside Intercontinental Hotel in Afghan capital

Latest: Trump hails 'perfect day' for women's demo as protesters march against him


The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner