Korean peninsula situation
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