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North Korea reportedly restarts nuclear program, says UN agency
Following the previous reports of suspected nuclear activity occurring in North Korea, the UN agency in charge of monitoring nuclear activities all over the world made a warning this week. The agency warned that North Korea had restarted its nuclear program.
Talks about the nuclear program of North Korea have remained at a standstill between the isolated nation and the US. The leader of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, issued a statement Monday warning that North Korea has restarted its nuclear facility. This warning follows previous reports of satellite images and open-source information that the agency was able to gather, as the IAEA was kicked out of North Korea in 2009.
“In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, nuclear program goes full steam ahead with work on plutonium separation, uranium enrichment, and other activities,” said Grossi in the statement.
Back in August, the IAEA released a report following the detection of activity in the Yongbyon nuclear facility. The facility produces plutonium, one of the two ingredients needed to make bombs, along with enriched uranium.
“Since early July 2021, there have been indications, including the discharge of cooling water, consistent with the operation of the reactor,” said the report. “There were indications for a period of time, that the reported centrifuge enrichment facility was not in operation,” the report noted, even as there were regular vehicular movements.
The IAEA then warned that North Korea’s nuclear activities remain a concern, describing the new signs of operations resuming in Yongbyon as “deeply troubling.”
Last week, the speech of South Korean President Moon Jae-in was criticized by the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kim Yo-jong, following Moon’s comments that South Korea’s missile capabilities could be able to deter those from the north. The South Korean leader’s remarks followed a military exercise where South Korean and Japanese troops launched two ballistic missiles into the sea hours after North Korea fired its own missiles.
In response to Moon’s statement, Ms. Kim said the tests were a provocation to the north and threatened to sever ties between the two Koreas. “If the president joins the slander and detraction, this will be followed by counteractions, and the North-South relations will be pushed toward a complete destruction,” she said in a statement.