By Kurt Achin
Seoul, Korea (RPRN)14 April 20 -North Korea has responded angrily to a United Nations denouncement of its recent long range rocket launch. Calling multinational disarmament talks “useless,” the North’s government says it will restart nuclear facilities and boost its nuclear arsenal.
|Unused nuclear fuel rods are piled on shelves of warehouse at North Korea’s main nuclear plant in Yongbyon (Jan 2009 S. Korean handout photo)|
North Korea vowed to get back into the nuclear weapons business Tuesday, in response to what it called a “brigandish” abuse of the United Nations Security Council.
Pyongyang says the council’s earlier presidential statement criticizing the North for its recent rocket launch “degrades the dignity” of the North Korean people.
Talks aren’t needed
A North Korean news announcer read a Foreign Ministry statement saying talks aimed at ending the North’s nuclear weapons are “not needed,” and that it will no longer participate.
Tha statement goes on to say the North will restart its main nuclear facility – which was disabled under a previous agreement – and reprocess stored nuclear fuel rods into material usable for boosting what it calls its “nuclear deterrent.”
UN condemns rocket launch
Hours earlier, U.N. Security Council members, including China, unanimously condemned North Korea’s rocket launch over Japan two weeks ago. Their statement calls for U.N. members to more vigilantly enforce sanctions imposed after the North conducted its 2006 nuclear test.
South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman Moon Tae-young says Seoul will comply.
He says South Korea will cooperate with other nations in implementing whatever concrete steps a U.N. sanctions board recommends.
Seoul wants full participation in PSI
Seoul is expected soon to upgrade itself to full participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative, or PSI. That is a U.S. – led consortium of about 90 nations aimed at coordinating voluntary steps to disrupt the transport of weapons of mass destruction.
North Korea disabled its main nuclear facility as a part of six-nation diplomacy last year. Dan Pinkston, Seoul-based senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, says Pyongyang could get its Yongbyon facility working again – but it would take time.
“They could reconstruct those facilities,” Pinkston said, “it might take a year or two, maybe longer. Nevertheless, if they are determined, they should be able to reconstitute those facilities in Yongbyon.”
South Korean officials say they are still optimistic North Korea can be persuaded to return eventually to the six-nation nuclear talks.