Angry North Korea Opts Out of Nuclear Talks
North Korea today declared it will "never again" engage in six-party talks.
SEOUL, April 14, 2009 — -- North Korea today declared it would "never again" engage in six-party talks, and it would begin to "bolster" its nuclear facilities to cope with "aggravated military threat from the hostile forces."
Calling the six-party talks "useless," the communist country vowed it would no longer be bound to any previous agreements and said it would restart nuclear plants that they had been disabling.
"We will actively consider building our own light-water nuclear reactor, will revive nuclear facilities, and reprocess used nuclear fuel rods," the statement said, referring to its plutonium-producing nuclear facilities at the Yongbyon complex near Pyongyang.
South Korean media reported it could take as little as three months to get the Yongbyon facilities up and running again. "The North definitely has enough plutonium to produce at least eight nuclear bombs," said Chang Yong-Seok, director of research at the Institute for Peace Affairs. "And now, they are hinting that enriched-uranium bombs will be next in the list, long term."
But analysts in Seoul said the bold language had been expected and should be regarded as diplomatic posturing in response to the Security Council's presidential statement.
"North Korea seems to be shocked," said Baek Seung-Joo, an analyst at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses. "They were counting on China and Russia to be on their side, but they know that they have no other choice but to engage back into talks."