Korean penin­sula sit­u­a­tion

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

NORTH Korea’s re­open­ing of a plant that pro­duces plu to­nium for its atomic weapons drive shows that it does not in­tend to give in to in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions against its nu­clear and mis­sile provo­ca­tions. Lat­est re­ports say North Korea is pro­duc­ing plu­to­nium by re­pro­cess­ing fuel spent at the 5-megawatt re­ac­tor in Yong­byon. There have also been re­ports about fresh nu­clear ac­tiv­ity at the site, in­clud­ing satel­lite im­agery of smoke com­ing from a coal­fired plant sup­ply­ing steam to re­pro­cess spent fuel.

North Korea has come un­der tight­en­ing in­ter­na­tional pres­sure over its nu­clear weapons pro­gramme, in­clud­ing tougher UN sanc­tions adopted in March and backed by its lone ma­jor ally China, fol­low­ing its most re­cent nu­clear test in Jan­uary 2016. Also, the US na­tional in­tel­li­gence di­rec­tor James R. Clap­per’s warn­ing on North Korea shows that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion now con­sid­ers the reclu­sive gov­ern­ment in Py­ongyang, rather than Iran, as the world’s most wor­ri­some nu­clear threat. The US has be­gun ne­go­ti­a­tions with South Korea about mov­ing equip­ment to place an an­tibal­lis­tic mis­sile sys­tem known as the Ter­mi­nal High-Al­ti­tude Area De­fence Sys­tem, or THAAD, on the Korean Penin­sula. All in all, the sit­u­a­tion is a del­i­cate one, and South Korea should lead in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to prevent and pun­ish any fur­ther provo­ca­tions. — Gulf News

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