Thursday, July 28, 2005

North Korea - No nuclear weapons?

I followed this story from Lucianne through Reuters to Interfax. Here is the dispatch from Interfax in its entirety:
06:53 GMT, Jul 28, 2005 Latest Headlines...

N. Korea has nuclear bomb components, but no weapons - source

BEIJING. July 28 (Interfax-China) - North Korea has no arsenal of
nuclear weapons ready for use, a diplomatic source close to the six-
nation talks on the Korean nuclear problem told Interfax on Thursday.

"Following the announcement that North Korea has become a nuclear
power, Pyongyang made it clear to China that North Korea has developed a detonator for blowing up nuclear charges, which is the most
sophisticated component of nuclear munitions," the source said.

"North Korea developed methods of making nuclear weapons back in
the early 1960s, but it did not succeed in creating a detonator for a
long time," the diplomat said.

"After work on this problem succeeded, North Korea announced that
it became the fourth country possessing nuclear weapons, since methods
for making all of its components were now available and the production
of nuclear weapons ceased to be a problem," he said.

The source said that North Korea is still hoping for real results
at the six-nation talks and is refraining from serious spending on the
mass production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

"But if the U.S. and its allies delay providing real security guarantees to North Korea, or advance demands Pyongyang cannot accept, North Korea will have to step up the creation of a self-defense nuclear arsenal," the diplomat said.
The Reuters report quotes the U.S. military commander in South Korea, General Leon LaPorte, as saying, "North Korea has self-proclaimed itself as a nuclear power and on several occasions said they had nuclear weapons. North Korea is the only one that could precisely answer the question whether they have nuclear weapons."

In other words, we don't really know. And in a deal like this, you have to be 100% sure.

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