DPRK restarts Yongbyon nuclear site

World Today

A man watches a news report at a railway station in Seoul on September 15, 2015, on the confirmation from DPRK that the nuclear reactor seen as the country’s main source of weapons-grade plutonium had resumed normal operations, raising a further red flag amid growing signs the North may be considering a long-range rocket launch next month in violation of UN resolutions. DPRK mothballed the Yongbyon reactor in 2007 under an aid-for-disarmament accord, but began renovating it after its last nuclear test in 2013. AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on Tuesday that their Yongbyon nuclear site, the country’s main nuclear complex, has resumed operations after being shuttered in 2007.

In an interview with the DPRK’s KCNA News Agency, the unnamed director of the Atomic Energy Institute said all facilities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, including a five-megawatt reactor, had “started normal operations”.

The director said scientists in atomic energy are “steadily improving the levels of nuclear weapons with various missions in quality and quantity” and they have made innovations day by day in their research and production.

The director also said the DPRK had been forced to do this because of the hostile policy of the U.S.

“If the U.S. and other hostile forces persistently seek their reckless hostile policy towards the DPRK and behave mischievously, the DPRK is fully ready to cope with them with nuclear weapons any time,” the KCNA quoted the director as saying.

The news came just one day after DPRK had said it is accelerating efforts at the final stage of development of new satellites for earth observation on the occasion of the 70th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

China has expressed hope that relevant parties could do more to ensure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday afternoon.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei

Hong also said China insists on the ‘de-nuclearization’ of the Korean Peninsula, and its peace and stability, and urges relevant parties to resolve issues through dialogue and consultation.


The Yongbyon nuclear complex

The Yongbyon nuclear complex is the DPRK’s main nuclear facility. The reactor was shut down in 2007 under an agreement reached at the Six Party Talks. In 2009, the DPRK resumed the reprocessing of spent fuel to recover plutonium, in response to the UN’s condemnation of a rocket launch. The DPRK again vowed to restart operations in 2013.


Scott Bates on DPRK’s Yongbyon nuclear complex

For more on this topic, CCTV spoke to Scott Bates, President of the Center for National Policy and Senior Adviser of Truman National Security Project.

Scott Bates on DPRK's Yongbyon nuclear complex

For more on this topic, CCTV spoke to Scott Bates, President of the Center for National Policy and Senior Adviser of Truman National Security Project.