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Is Kabuki popular in North Korea?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by mikepd, Jan 31, 2003.

  1. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    The following is an excerpt from a NY Times article (free registration required):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/31/international/asia/31KORE.html

    What exactly is going on in the Dear Leader's mind? Is this a new type of Kabuki and how if at all does Japan's missing plutonium fit into this? So many questions and so few decent answers that don't keep me up staring at the ceiling re-playing the ending scenes of Dr. Stangelove. Also what about their uranium program?


    "WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 American spy satellites over North Korea have detected what appear to be trucks moving the country's stockpile of 8,000 nuclear fuel rods out of storage, prompting fears within the Bush administration that North Korea is preparing to produce roughly a half dozen nuclear weapons, American officials said today.

    Throughout January, intelligence analysts have seen extensive activity at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, with some trucks pulling up to the building housing the storage pond. While the satellites could not see exactly what was being put into the trucks, analysts concluded that it was likely that workers were transporting the rods to another site, either to get them out of sight, or to move them to a reprocessing plant to convert them into bomb-grade plutonium.

    The Bush administration has said nothing publicly about the truck activity, deflecting questions about the subject. American intelligence analysts have informally concluded that the movement of the rods, combined with other activity that now appears to be under way at the Yongbyon complex, could allow North Korea to begin producing bomb-grade plutonium by the end of March.

    "There's still a debate about exactly what we are seeing and how provocative it is," said one senior official. "The North Koreans made no real effort to hide this from us." "
     
  2. mikeky

    mikeky Member

    Certainly doesn't sound very reassuring, does it? Are there any realistic military options now (as Clinton was considering) for neutralizing this material? Or, are negotiations the only way?
     
  3. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Well, we can always attack, of course. Bush has the same options Clinton had, though apparently without large interns about.

    SM
     
  4. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    At least we know now what the Dear Leader was thinking about. Of course, what his end game is, no one knows, maybe not even him. This could turn into a very dangerous game of blackmail with potential consequences that truly frighten me.

    "WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials said Friday that "activity" has been detected at North Korea's reprocessing facility in Yongbyon that could lead to spent plutonium being reprocessed to produce five to eight nuclear weapons in addition to the one or two U.S. intelligence estimates the nation might already have.

    An official said there is "activity which would lead you to believe that they might before long fire up the plant."

    Intelligence reports also indicate that the North is preparing to test a ballistic missile in the near future, with both moves pushing the nuclear standoff further toward a "red line," Reuters quotes sources in Washington as saying.

    Earlier this week, Washington said it had evidence that North Korea had restarted the Yongbyon reactor and could produce enough plutonium as a by-product of generating electricity to make a nuclear weapon in about one year.

    North Korea restarting its reprocessing facility would likely heighten concerns considerably in Washington and in northeast Asia. Experts say the plant could give the regime enough fissile material to begin producing about one nuclear weapon per month.

    Officially, the facility would be reprocessing spent plutonium to be re-used in the Yongbyon reactor. But U.S. officials say reprocessing would be unnecessary given the 5-megawatt reactor's relatively low output. They believe the only purpose for restarting the plant would be to make nuclear weapons material or frighten the world into believing that is happening.

    North Korea has stored about 8,000 spent fuel rods in Yongbyon, according to the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]."


    Rest of article here:

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/east/02/28/nkorea.nukeplant/index.html
     

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