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Terrorism & Security

North Korea quits nuclear talks, vows to resume nuclear program

The move is a response to the UN Security Council statement condemning North Korea's missile launch last week.

By Huma Yusuf / April 14, 2009

A North Korean soldier stands guard near the town of Sinuiju on the Chinese border Tuesday. North Korea announced it will re-start a plant that makes weapons-grade plutonium after the UN rebuked it for launching a long-range rocket.

Jacky Chen/Reuters

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North Korea on Tuesday announced that it was walking out on six-party talks to end its nuclear program, and vowed to resume operating its nuclear facilities. The decision comes a day after the 15-member United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea's April 5 rocket launch, which critics argue was a long-range missile test.

According to North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, the decision to abandon international talks is a response to the UN Security Council statement, released on Monday, which was deemed insulting to the North Korean people.

Now that the six-party talks have turned into a platform for infringing upon the sovereignty of the DPRK and seeking to force the DPRK to disarm itself and bring down the system in it the DPRK will never participate in the talks any longer nor it will be bound to any agreement of the six-party talks.

North Korea is also intent on resuming its nuclear program, reports the Associated Press.

North Korea also said it will restore nuclear facilities it has been disabling and resume operating them, apparently referring to its five-megawatt plutonium-producing reactor and other facilities at the Yongbyon complex north of Pyongyang.
North Korea also said it will reprocess spent fuel rods, also apparently referring to an activity at Yongbyon, and "actively consider" building a light-water nuclear reactor.

The BBC reports that "North Korea had previously threatened that any criticism of the rocket launch would cause it to walk away from the negotiating table."

But analysts describe North Korea's statement as "unusually strong" and fear that it will heighten regional tensions, reports Agence France-Presse.

Kim Yong-Hyun, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University, said Pyongyang's response raises the possibility of armed provocations.
"The strong North Korean statement means tension will rise further around the peninsula for a while," he told AFP. "It raises the possibility of military provocations by North Korea.
"North Korea is ratcheting up the stakes. Its brinkmanship, of course, is designed to win maximum concessions from the US and international community."
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