North Korea on Tuesday demonstrated its commitment to its controversial nuclear program, saying that it plans to restart a reactor at its main atomic complex that it agreed to shut down in 2007.
With tensions high on the Korean Peninsula, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the reclusive state’s atomic energy department intends to “readjust and restart all the nuclear facilities” at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
Those facilities include a uranium enrichment facility and a reactor that was “mothballed and disabled” under an agreement reached during talks between North Korea, the United States and four other nations in October 2007, KCNA said.
The announcement follows a new strategic line “on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of the nuclear armed force” that was set out at a recent meeting of a key committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea led by the regime’s young leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday.
The work of adapting and restarting the nuclear facilities “work will be put into practice without delay,” KCNA said.
The North’s latest declaration comes after it has delivered a steady stream of verbal attacks against South Korea and the United States in recent weeks, including the threat of a nuclear strike.
Pyongyang’s angry words appear to have been fueled by recent joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea in the region, as well as tougher U.N. sanctions in response to the latest North Korean nuclear test.
Much of the bellicose rhetoric, analysts say, isn’t matched by the regime’s military capabilities.
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