North Korea has plutonium ready for up to five nuclear bombs, reports claim

By | January 18, 2009

A 2002 satellite image of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor in North KoreaNorth Korea today threatened to ­”shatter” the conservative South Korean government in Seoul, as reports emerged that Pyongyang claims to have weaponised enough plutonium stocks to produce four or five nuclear bombs.

Relations across the heavily fortified border have turned frosty since South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, came to office last year promising to get tough on his communist neighbour after a decade of attempts by liberal governments to engage with Pyongyang. In December, North Korea closed border crossings and accused Seoul of plotting to assassinate the North’s leader, Kim Jong-il.

But today’s rare statement from the Korean People’s Army – read on television by a uniformed officer – is likely to further raise tensions on the divided peninsula. …

The statement came as an American scholar said North Korean officials had told him Pyongyang has weaponised 30.8 kg (68lb) of plutonium, enough for four or five bombs.

Selig Harrison, a North Korean expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, said the North Koreans had told him the weapons cannot be inspected.

The officials were vague about what weaponisation meant, but it appeared most likely the plutonium would be fitted in missile warheads, Harrison said.

Selig Harrison, a North Korean expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, said the North Koreans had told him the weapons cannot be inspected.

The officials were vague about what weaponisation meant, but it appeared most likely the plutonium would be fitted in missile warheads, Harrison said. …

via North Korea has plutonium ready for up to five nuclear bombs, reports claim | World news | guardian.co.uk.

You have to understand the language of diplomacy. They used the word “shatter” in their threat, which is not exactly frightening. If they had used terms like “megaton irradiate,” or “nuclearly massacre” or “plutonium mutate giving three headed babies” there would be more cause for concern.

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