Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



South Korean Spy Agency Says North Korea Has Secret Nuke Program

North Korea needs to shut down and seal its Yongbyon plutonium-producing reactor (pictured) within 60 days, and admit UN nuclear inspectors. Only then will it receive 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent assistance in return.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Feb 20, 2007
South Korea's intelligence chief was quoted as saying Tuesday that he believes North Korea has a secret uranium enrichment programme, in addition to its plutonium-based nuclear weapons project. "We believe (the programme) exists," Kim Man-Bok, the head of the National Intelligence Service, told a closed-door parliamentary committee, according to lawmakers who attended the meeting.

Kim was answering a question on whether the North is operating a highly-enriched uranium (HEU) programme, the lawmakers told Yonhap news agency on condition of anonymity.

US claims that the North has such a programme led to the collapse in 2002 of a previous deal to dismantle its nuclear facilities. A new agreement reached last week in Beijing did not directly address the HEU issue.

Under the February 13 deal reached during six-party talks the North, which conducted its first nuclear test last October, agreed to disable its nuclear facilities in exchange for badly-needed energy aid.

As a first step it will shut down and seal its Yongbyon plutonium-producing reactor within 60 days, admit UN nuclear inspectors and receive 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent assistance in return.

Action to permanently disable the nuclear facilities would be rewarded with up to 950,000 tons of heavy oil or other aid.

Critics say the deal does not immediately address either the North's existing nuclear weapons and plutonium stockpile, or its suspected uranium-based programme, which the communist state has never publicly admitted.

Estimates vary but most experts believe the North has produced enough plutonium to make six to eight nuclear bombs.

The White House said Sunday the Beijing agreement is just the first step "in a long series that includes the complete renunciation of nuclear weaponry and facilities within North Korea."

Under the deal the North must eventually submit a list of its nuclear facilities and programmes, including any uranium-based one.

earlier related report
Australian diplomats to go to N. Korea after nuclear deal
Sydney (AFP) Feb 20 - Australia will send a diplomatic team to North Korea in coming weeks to strengthen ties with the Stalinist state after it pledged to suspend its nuclear programme, Prime Minister John Howard said Tuesday.

"We're going to be sending a diplomatic group to North Korea in the not too distant future, the next few weeks, to put down some benchmarks about the restoration of our bilateral diplomatic relationship," Howard said after discussing North Korea with US President George W. Bush.

Howard, whose government is one of a handful to maintain diplomatic ties with Pyongyang, said he and Bush spoke on the phone late Monday and were "realistically optimistic" about the landmark nuclear accord struck during multi-party talks last week.

"We want to go along with the agreement," Howard told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, adding that the latest accord was better than a similar one struck between arch foes North Korea and the United States in 1994.

"It does involve China and the other members of the six-party group and I think that's a great advantage," he said, as Japan refused to fund the deal amid jitters over North Korea's reliability.

At six-nation talks in Beijing last week, economically crippled and fuel-starved North Korea agreed to start disabling its nuclear facilities in exchange for badly needed energy aid.

As an initial move, it will close down and seal its Yongbyon reactor -- long suspected to be the centre of its nuclear programme -- within 60 days, admit UN nuclear inspectors and receive 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent assistance in return. Further steps to disable nuclear facilities would be rewarded with up to 950,000 tons of heavy oil or other aid, while Washington also agreed to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and begin normalizing relations with it.

But critics of the deal claim it does not tackle Pyongyang's existing weapons or plutonium stockpile, or its suspected uranium-based weapons research programme.

Many have expressed doubts about whether North Korea will live up to its side of the deal, after Pyongyang was strongly suspected of running a clandestine nuclear programme despite its 1994 deal with Washington.

Given its ties with North Korea, Australia could well play a role in providing some of the fuel promised as part of the deal and help smooth over some difficulties.

Howard said the Australian diplomatic team headed to Pyongyang would aim to ensure that the secretive and unpredictable regime kept its side of the bargain this time and would also aim to mend ties strained over recent years.

"Like all of these understandings we must make sure that North Korea is kept up to its commitments," Howard said.

The delegation to North Korea will also "discuss some benchmarks that might be established to resume our diplomatic relations," Howard said. In October, Canberra banned North Korean ships from its ports as it moved to ramp up sanctions against the Stalinist state after it staged its maiden nuclear test, sending diplomatic shockwaves across the globe.

Howard said recent developments indicated how crucial the US role in maintaining peace and security in Asia was.

"(North Korea) does remain, in our region, an issue of enormous ongoing concern.

"It does drive home to us again the importance of the United States' security involvement in our part of the world," he said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Email This Article

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com

Iran War Games As US Carrier Moves In To Gulf Region
Tehran (AFP) Feb 20, 2007
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday staged a war game simulating an enemy air strike as a second nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier arrived in regional waters in an apparent warning to Tehran. The Revolutionary Guards land forces fought back the hypothetical air strike from enemy helicopters, planes and missiles with 620 anti-aircraft cannon and shoulder missiles, state television said.







  • The Bear Roars From The East
  • Putin Takes A Tour Of The Mideast
  • China Flexes Its Muscle To Help Defuse North Korean Nuclear Crisis
  • Absence Of US-China Military Dialogue Triggers Worries In US

  • Iran War Games As US Carrier Moves In To Gulf Region
  • South Korean Spy Agency Says North Korea Has Secret Nuke Program
  • No Sign Of Compromise In Iranian Nuclear Crisis As UN Deadline Looms
  • Iran Flap Exposes Public Skepticism Of US Intelligence And Intentions

  • Iran Launches War Games With Missile Tests
  • Putin Denies Passing Missile Technology To Iran
  • Raytheon And BAE Test Fire DDG 1000 MK57 Vertical Launching System
  • India Test-Fires Supersonic Cruise Missile

  • US Missile Defence Plans Open Old Wounds In Eastern Europe
  • German FM Raps US Approach To Missile Shield Plan
  • Europe Might Consider Own Missile Defence System
  • Poles And Czechs To Cooperate In US Missile Talks

  • Can UABC Take Russian Aircraft-Makers Out Of Spin
  • Superjet To Be Tested For Strength
  • Anger As Britons Face Air Tax Hike
  • Bats In Flight Reveal Unexpected Aerodynamics

  • Killerbee UAV Flies At Camp Pendleton
  • UAV Tested For US Border Security
  • Iran Claims New Stealth Drone That Can Attack US Gulf Fleet
  • Boeing ScanEagle Team Achieves Compliance With NATO UAV Interoperability Standard

  • Facing Iraq Realities
  • Iraq Is No Vietnam
  • Pentagon Accelerates Iraq Deployment
  • Iraqi Insurgents Have Strategy To Target US Helicopters

  • Lockheed Martin Compact Kinetic Energy Missile Successful In Final Flight Test
  • US Deploys Stealth Fighters In Japan
  • Future Combat Systems Restructuring A Balancing Act
  • India's Showcase Chopper Crashes Ahead Of Airshow

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement