North Korea expanding plant used to make weapons-grade uranium: Reports

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Sep 17, 2021, 04:06 PM(IST)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Photograph:( AFP )

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Following months of relative silence, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has recently begun rattling his swords, indicating that he is striving to build his arsenal of weaponry.

Two reports based on satellite photos reveal that North Korea is expanding a plant used to enrich uranium for nuclear bombs, indicating that Kim Jong Un is relaxing self-imposed limits on his nuclear weapons programme placed during discussions with the US.

According to reports posted Thursday on the Arms Control Wonk and 38 North websites, the Yongbyon nuclear complex's enrichment plant has been extended, and equipment that controls its internal temperature has been removed. 

According to Jeffrey Lewis of the Arms Control Wonk website, the modifications imply that North Korea aims to expand production by up to 25%. 

Also read: North Korea fired ballistic missiles from train for the first time ever

The improvement comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that North Korea had resumed plutonium production at its Yongbyon uranium enrichment plant for the first time in three years.

Because it takes many months for the reactor to fire before another lengthy operation to process the fuel rods and extract plutonium can begin, such efforts suggest Kim isn't going to meet with US President Joe Biden anytime soon. 

Following months of relative silence, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has recently begun rattling his swords, indicating that he is striving to build his arsenal of weaponry.

Also read | South Korea test-fires first submarine-launched ballistic missile, hours after North Korean launches

Hidden nuclear-capable missiles that can be launched anywhere along a railway. A new cruise missile, similar to the US Tomahawk, that might be armed with nuclear warheads. The apparent commencement of nuclear weapons-related fuel production. 

They are most likely an attempt to extort concessions from the US if and when long-stalled diplomatic negotiations on Kim's nuclear programme begin.

However, part of the message is intended to strengthen internal unity as North Koreans face greater hardships in an economy that has been pummelling by the coronavirus outbreak. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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