Report Concludes North Korea Continues Nuclear Program
The report comes after a two month long investigation authorized by the U.N., which concluded that North Korea may also be in communication with foreign scientists who may be contributing to the nuclear development.
"The report, among other things, says that North Korea's uranium enrichment program is more advanced than Iran's, and that it has been carrying out the program for a significant period of time,” according to a Security Council insider.
The U.N. conducted the investigation with intentions of potentially proposing further sanctions on the socialist country.
These findings support Stanford University’s U.S. nuclear expert Siegfried Hecker’s account of his authorized visit to the Yongbyon facility last November, where Yongbyon officials informed him that there were 2,000 centrifuges at work in the plant.
Last November, the Korea News Central Agency argued that North Korea uses the nuclear facility for the “peaceful purpose of meeting electricity demand.”
Experts, however, contend that North Korea could convert the facility easily to produce uranium for nuclear weapons, at a rate as quickly as one atomic bomb per year, according to Hecker.
United States U.N. mission spokesman Mark Kornblau states that North Korea’s activity “is inconsistent with North Korea’s previous commitments, and compels tighter enforcement of existing sanctions.”
Continuation of nuclear program is in strict violation of UN Security resolutions 1718 and 1874. The U.N. has ordered the government to halt all nuclear activity since May 2009, when North Korea conducted its second atomic test.
South Korea and China have both expressed growing concerns regarding North Korea’s uranium enrichment program.
Earlier this month, China’s Hu Jintao discussed North Korea’s defiance of the U.N. resolutions with President Obama, expressing the need to take "necessary steps" to resume six-party talks with North Korea.
Last Tuesday, South Korea made another appeal to the U.N. to debate the North’s activity. A South Korean foreign minister affirms, “We will continue diplomatic efforts to make North Korea realize the international community's stern position that it will not tolerate its nuclear development," he said.
In response, Kim Jong-nam, eldest son of North Korea leader Kim Jong-il, made a statement to Korean newspaper Tokyo Shimbun, "The power of the North Korean state comes from the nuclear atom. Amid continuing confrontation with the Unites States, the possibility [of North Korea] dropping it remains minute.”
Against a backdrop of growing tensions, the U.N. Security Council will discuss North Korea’s uranium enrichment programs this week.