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‘North Korea is firing up a reactor,’ says NYT

Posted March. 29, 2018 08:13,   

Updated March. 29, 2018 08:13

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The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the launch of a new reactor among the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, North Korea could be a central issue in North Korea-U.S. talks. In other words, even if U.S. President Donald Trump meets and persuades North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up its nuclear weapons at the talks, which is expected to be held in May, Mr. Trump’s “challenge will be much larger than merely persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons” during the process of requesting substantial action for denuclearization.

What look like emissions from a smokestack from a new experimental light water reactor (ELWR) in Yongbyon’s nuclear facility for the first time through a commercial satellite image on Feb. 25, the New York Times reported by citing data released by diplomatic and security journal “Jane’s Intelligence Review.” North Korea appears to have tested the gas emissions passage with the formal operation of the concerned facility, of which the construction had long been completed in 2013. Actual operation of the reactor is likely to be possible at the end of this year or next year, the newspaper added.

North Korea claims that the new nuclear reactor has been constructed for generating power for civilians. “But the new reactor can also make plutonium, one of the main fuels used in nuclear arms. It can thus supplement the output of the aging, existing facilities at Yongbyon,” The New York Times reported. “But if the talks fail, or simply drag on, the reactor could also be part of the justification for military action — at least if the past arguments of Mr. Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser, John R. Bolton, prevail.”


Gi-Jae Han record@donga.com