Well, this certainly ups the ante on our Asian policy. Be very interested to see what, if anything, Red China does in response to gauge their seriousness of keeping these clowns in check...
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N. Korea makes nuclear arms claim Raising stakes with U.S., Pyongyang says plutonium yielded from 8,000 spent fuel rods is being used for atomic weapons The Associated Press October 2, 2003, 8:10 AM EDT
SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea said today it is using plutonium extracted from 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods to make atomic weapons, a move that could dramatically escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula and strengthen its hand in negotiations with the United States.
The claim came as some U.S. intelligence analysts are becoming increasingly concerned that North Korea might have three, four or even six nuclear weapons instead of the one or two the CIA now estimates.
"The [North] successfully finished the reprocessing of some 8,000 spent fuel rods," a spokesman from Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the North's official news agency KCNA. The spokesman was not named.
Accusing the United States of taking a "hostile policy" toward the North, the statement said North Korea "made a switchover in the use of plutonium churned out by reprocessing spent fuel rods in the direction [of] increasing its nuclear deterrent force."
When reprocessed with chemicals, the 8,000 rods can yield enough plutonium for North Korea to make five or six more nuclear weapons, according to experts.
North Korea has claimed before that it has completed reprocessing its pool of 8,000 spent rods, but today's statement clarified for the first time that it was using plutonium yielded from the rods to make nuclear weapons.
U.S. and South Korean officials have been skeptical about the claims that the rods have been reprocessed.
The bombs also could mean that the Stalinist regime might part with one bomb, either in a test or by selling it, although a senior official and the main communist newspaper Rodong Sinmun said North Korea has pledged not to export its nuclear capability.
Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon said the North is expanding its "nuclear deterrence" but wouldn't say how many weapons it has, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported today.
"We [have] no intention of transferring any means of that nuclear deterrence to other countries," Choe was quoted as telling reporters in New York, where he was attending the U.N. General Assembly.
North Korea also said today that when necessary, it will reprocess more spent fuel rods to be produced from the small reactor in its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, 50 miles north of Pyongyang.
North Korea says it has restarted its frozen 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon after kicking out U.N. nuclear inspectors and quitting the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in January. Experts say it would take a year of operation before the reactor can produce enough to make a new weapon.
North Korea tends to escalate its harsh rhetoric in attempts analysts say are aimed at extracting concessions in crucial negotiations.
Last month, several U.S. government officials told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity that intelligence analysts are debating the extent of North Korea's nuclear capability.
Among the issues is whether the North Koreans have refined their nuclear weapon designs so they are able to use less plutonium to make a working weapon. Some analysts presume the North Koreans have made steady advances and thus are able to use their existing stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium more efficiently, the officials said.
However, the CIA as an agency has not reached that conclusion. It is sticking with its unclassified estimate of one or two weapons, the officials said. Other U.S. estimates put the number at three or four; still others are floating five or six weapons as a possibility.
The United States and its allies are trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear programs. North Korea says it will do so only if the United States signs a nonaggression treaty, provides economic aid and opens diplomatic ties.
The nuclear dispute flared last October when U.S. officials said North Korea admitted running a secret nuclear weapons program in violation of international agreements.
The United States and its allies suspended oil shipments to the North. North Korea in turn expelled U.N. nuclear inspectors, withdrew from the global nuclear arms-control treaty and said it was reactivating its main nuclear complex, frozen since 1994.
The United States, the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia met in Beijing in August to try to defuse the crisis. The meeting ended without agreement on when to hold the next round, as Washington and Pyongyang differed widely over how to resolve the dispute.
North Korea has since said it was no longer interested in further talks.
South Korea Vice Unification Minister Cho Kun-shik suggested North Korea's move was a "tactic to boost its negotiating power" when the talks resume.
I'm beginning to think China is just as confused by the PDRK as the rest of the world is. And that the economic levers that they have over them may begin to be meaningless in the face of mass insanity in the leadership of N. Korea. This situation seriously scares the piss out of me, 10000X more than Iraq ever did. These folks are A) nuts, B)broke, and C)have nuclear arms. Yet we're pussy-footing around Baghdad with over 100,000 troops. I'm seriously thinking our only hope here may be a massive preemptive strike. It might lead to an ugly land war, but at least it might knock out all of their nuclear capability, and to be blunt I'd rather lose 50,000 troops in war than 2 million civilians at home.
Originally posted by spf2119I'm beginning to think China is just as confused by the PDRK as the rest of the world is. And that the economic levers that they have over them may begin to be meaningless in the face of mass insanity in the leadership of N. Korea. This situation seriously scares the piss out of me, 10000X more than Iraq ever did. These folks are A) nuts, B)broke, and C)have nuclear arms. Yet we're pussy-footing around Baghdad with over 100,000 troops. I'm seriously thinking our only hope here may be a massive preemptive strike. It might lead to an ugly land war, but at least it might knock out all of their nuclear capability, and to be blunt I'd rather lose 50,000 troops in war than 2 million civilians at home.
I'm with you. they need to be dealt with, and with a heavy hand. there would have to be a lot of hush hush coordination involving moving our troops out of the DMZ and standing by to vaporize it in the case NK troops try to cross the border. I'm thinking we could probably wait until the next big Military Parade they love having and just hitting them then could work. Kim Jong Il needs to be taken out, then the rest of country might fall in line once the cult of personality and yes men surrounding it is broken.
The real main problem is the Chinese. They are our enemies. they may be important trading partners, but in reality they are at the top of the list at holding us hostage to their whims. They have the Nukes, Soldiers, and ties to all the bad guys and let us know in no uncertain terms if we don't kowtow to them constantly (which we do,) they're gonna go all out on us (and they will.)They are the ones who keep threatening action if anyone recognises Taiwan as an Idependant country. They are the ones who have saturated the world with weapons since the fall of the USSR. They are the ones who are the real road block in dealing with North Korea, becuase they would be the ones to retalliate if we did anything to North Korea.
Its funny, when it comes to WMD we were all over Iraq and are yet to find anything worse that a claymore, but North Korea or whatever they call themselves today are basically jumping up and down and going "Hello, WMD over here, hello..." (reminds me of a certain former IC champ, but I digress)
I can just picture George snr with George W sitting on his lap saying "only fight the fights you can win son"
BTW please don't confuse me with a pinko, I think the ends justifies the means in terms of Iraq, but it hurts your credbility when you don't get what you said was there.
PS I probably should stay out of the Politics forum for the sake of my registration
Insanity is doing the same thing day in day out and expecting the outcome to be different.
Actually, China has been distancing itself from North Korea for awhile now. While not exactly siding with the U.S. or anything, they have been trying to make it clear that they really don't want much to do with North Korea.
And as for arming all the bad guys, who? They've been having problems with Islamic extremeists for years now.
The reason China is now backing away from helping North Korea is because after the US. South Korea and Japan are two huge trading partners with China. They will also be North Korea's first two targets if there ever was a war.
The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee decided to seat the entire Florida delegation, with each (regular and superdelegate) to have half a vote. They also decided to seat the entire Michigan delegation, with each (regular and superdelegate)