North has no intentions to denuclearize: U.S. report

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North has no intentions to denuclearize: U.S. report

There is a “clear likelihood” of unidentified nuclear facilities in North Korea in addition to already known locations, Washington said in an annual nonproliferation and disarmament report by the U.S. State Department released on Friday.

In 2013, North Korea restarted its 5-megawatt, graphite-moderated reactor at its Yongbyon research complex, which allowed Pyongyang “to resume the process of producing weapons-grade plutonium.

The “2015 Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments” added that Yongbyon also has a light water reactor under construction, which Pyongyang revealed in 2010.

The light water reactor, if it is successfully completed and operated, could provide North Korea with “a relatively small source of electricity,” the report pointed out, and could give Pyongyang “a justification to possess uranium enrichment technology that could potentially be used to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.”

The report, which analyzed activities in 2014, covered developments in relevant countries and their compliance with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including their obligation to conclude and implement a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

North Korea joined the non-proliferation treaty in 1985. The United States and North Korea last engaged in formal bilateral dialogue on North Korea’s nuclear program in February 2012. The report also addressed the compliance of countries including China, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and Russia to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which came into force in 1975.

It added that “North Korea continues to develop its biological research and development capabilities, but has yet to declare any relevant developments.” Pyongyang is legally obligated under Article I of the convention, to “never in any circumstance to develop, produce, stockpile, or otherwise acquire or retain” biological weapons.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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