N Korea Threatens War if its Ships are Captured

Amid increasing tension over Pyongyang’s nuclear test earlier this week, North Korea has said that it will take military action against South Korea if it takes part in a US led venture to capture ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Pyongyang reaffirmed that any such decision by Seoul would be considered an act of war and Pyongyang would no longer be bound by the 1953 armistice that ended the three-year Korean War.

Seoul announced on Tuesday that it would take part in the Proliferation Security Initiative, involving intelligence sharing and naval coordination to keep nuclear and other illegal weapons from being transported.  The announcement came one day after the North Korean nuclear test.

In the meantime, news reports out of South Korea say that North Korea has recommenced its nuclear reprocessing facility at Yongbyon.

It should be mentioned that Pyongyang began dismantling the Yongbyon facility in 2007 as part of deal reached through the six-nation disarmament talks.  But the regime vowed to restart the facility last month after the United Nations Security Council condemned the North’s test-firing of a long-range missile.

At least one South Korean newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, says that it has learned from an anonymous government official that US spy satellites have detected steam coming from a reprocessing plant on the complex. 

Observers say that North Korea has 8,000 spent fuel rods at Yongbyon, which could yield between six to eight kilograms of plutonium if reprocessed.  The amount would be enough to produce at least one nuclear weapon.

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