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S.Korea’s next president to face a N.Korea forging ahead in nuclear, missile production -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Men pass a monitor on the street that displays news about North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic weapon in Tokyo, Japan. July 4, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File photo


Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters – North Korea’s nuclear facilities are in full operation, a report has revealed. This is the latest evidence that highlights the difficulties facing whoever takes power in South Korea next week.

North Korea launched a record number missiles in January, despite denuclearisation negotiations being stalled. The North Korean government appears to be preparing to launch a spy spacecraft in the very near future. They also indicated that they could return to testing nuclear weapons and its long range intercontinental bombistic missiles (ICBMs), as well as resume their tests of these items for the first-time since 2017.

Internaional monitors have found that North Korea is using the reactors in its Yongbyon facility to generate fuel to create nuclear weapons.

The U.S-based 38 North Project reported that “the activities observed at Yongbyon indicate ongoing Fissile Material Production as well as the groundwork to further expansion.” They cited commercial satellite imagery.

The report stated that North Korea could soon be able to open an Experimental Light Water Reactor. However, additional work is needed to increase the capacity of a Radiochemical Laboratory, which reprocesses used fuel to extract plutonium.

According to the report, “North Korea’s potential plutonium production capacities could grow substantially.”

It comes just a week prior to South Korea’s March 9th election in which a new president will be elected to replace the outgoing incumbent Moon Jae In.


Moon has been unsuccessful in brokering a peace agreement between North Korea, the United States and it is now 2019.

While the United States claims it is willing to negotiate without any preconditions or restrictions, Pyongyang asserts that negotiations are possible only if America and its allies abandon hostile policies.

Kim Sung-han is a Korean University professor. Kim was Yoon Seok-yeol’s chief foreign policy aide. He is also the conservative frontrunner in this presidential election.

Kim is confident that it will only take a few days before North Korea ends its unilateral moratorium against testing ICBMs and nuclear weapons.

Yoon stirred controversy in South Korea after he claimed that North Korea’s latest “hypersonic missiles”, which are designed to evade missile defenses, may require preemptive strikes.

Kim stated that Yoon, if elected, would not seek dialogue just for the sake, but will unveil a roadmap to appeal to North Korea’s interests.

He said, “We must create conditions that North Korea will make a rational decision, whether they remain out of negotiations and continue to be under the pressure and sanctions, or whether they can bring about a turning point by holding practical, work-level discussions to ease sanctions.”

Lee Jaemyung’s advisers, the candidate for Moon’s Democratic Party have stated that they would create a road map where Washington could actually reduce sanctions in phases as Pyongyang moves to end its nuclear and missile programs. The roadmap will include a clause called “snapback”, which can restore sanctions if Pyongyang backtracks.

Lee Jongseok advises Lee Jaemyung and is a former unification minister. He was also a deputy national security adviser.

North Korea stated that the Feb. 27 missile launch was to help develop a reconnaissance satellite systems. Lee Jong Seok suggested that the launch of full-scale satellites could occur soon after elections.

He told Reuters that any satellite launch could have serious repercussions because it uses the same technology as an ICBM launch.