Tuesday, September 28, 2004

North Korea Increases Size Of Nuclear Inventory

Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon of the DPRK spoke with the U.N. yesterday: Minister: N. Korea Has Nuclear Deterrent.

"We have already made clear that we have already reprocessed 8,000 wasted fuel rods and transformed them into arms," he said, without elaborating on the kinds or numbers.

When asked if the fuel had been turned into actual weapons, not just weapons-grade material, Choe said, "We declared that we weaponized this."

South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck said in late April that it was estimated that eight nuclear bombs could be made if all 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods were reprocessed. Before the reprocessing, South Korea said it believed the North had enough nuclear material to build one or two nuclear bombs.

The State Department official said he hadn't seen Choe's comments but noted that the Bush administration has long believed that North Korea has at least one or two nuclear weapons.


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