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Defector Describes N. Korean A-Arms

By Reuters / July 28, 1994



NORTH Korea has developed five nuclear warheads and is concentrating on building missiles to carry them, according to a North Korean defector who says he is the son-in-law of his country's prime minister.

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Kang Myong Do told a news conference in Seoul that the North was simply using suspicions about its nuclear program as a negotiating tactic.

``It sees nuclear development as the only means to maintain Kim Jong Il's regime,'' he said, referring to the son of North Korea's late ``Great Leader'' Kim Il Sung, who has apparently assumed leadership. ``Kim Jong Il's nuclear policy is that North Korea will reveal its program to the international community after making about 10 nuclear warheads in order to secure an advantageous position in its talks with the United States and Japan.''

Mr. Kang said Kim Jong Il had virtually taken over leadership of the North's government and the ruling Communist Party since 1985 and wanted to gain time to make the ``necessary number of warheads.'' Kang claimed to be related to Prime Minister Kang Song San, the third-ranking official in the North.

Earlier this year the US Central Intelligence Agency said there was a better-than- even chance that the North had extracted enough plutonium during an unexplained shutdown of its Yongbyon reactor in 1989 to build at least one nuclear weapon.

Michael Breen, a Seoul-based analyst, doubted whether Kang would have had access to reliable information about the North's nuclear program. Kang spoke less than 10 days before the US and North Korea are due to resume talks in Geneva.