N Korea announces progress on uranium production
Seoul: North Korea on Wednesday said it is making
progress in producing low-enriched uranium and insisted it
would not accept US demands to shut down the programme.
"The construction of experimental LWR (light water
reactor) and the low-enriched uranium for the provision of raw
materials are progressing apace," a foreign ministry spokesman
told the official news agency.
The spokesman rejected demands by the US and its allies
that the uranium enrichment plant be shut down before
six-party nuclear disarmament talks resume.
Scientists say the plant at Yongbyon could easily be
reconfigured to make atomic weapons. The North says the plant
will fuel the LWR, which will be used to generate electricity.
"The right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy is an
issue vital for the sovereignty and development of the DPRK
(North) and, therefore, neither concession nor compromise
should be allowed," the spokesman said in a statement.
Diplomatic efforts have intensified in recent months to
revive the six-party talks which the North abandoned in April
2009, one month before its second atomic weapons test.
The North wants talks without preconditions and says its
uranium enrichment programme -- first disclosed to the world a
year ago -- can be discussed at the forum.
The US says the North must first show it is serious about
the talks, which have dragged on since 2003, by shutting down
the programme. The negotiations also group South Korea, China,
Russia and Japan.
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