North Korea's New Threat: We're Restarting Reactor

Ban Ki-moon fears country is on a 'collision course'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2013 6:25 AM CDT
Updated Apr 2, 2013 7:59 AM CDT
Pyongyang Vows to Restart Reactor
South Korean marines take part in a military exercise in the border city between the two Koreas yesterday.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The latest in the almost-daily series of threats from Pyongyang is a vow to restart its Yongbyon nuclear reactor and other facilities to "bolster up the nuclear armed force" and provide electricity, according to a rep for the country's Department of Atomic Energy. The Yongbyon reactor was shut down as part of a 2007 aid-for-disarmament deal, and experts believe it will take North Korea at least a year to get its only source of plutonium operational again, the Wall Street Journal reports. AP notes that the reactor can make one bomb's worth of plutonium a year.

In a weekend speech whose transcript was published today, Kim Jong Un referred to nukes as a necessary element in the country's quest to improve its economy, notes the New York Times: "Now that we have become a proud nuclear state, we have gained a favorable ground from which we can concentrate all our finance and efforts in building the economy and improving the people's lives based on the strong deterrent against war," he said. But war is exactly what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon fears, reports the AP; he today expressed concerns that North Korea is "on a collision course with the international community" and that "the current crisis has already gone too far." He pushed for international negotiations. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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