Reactions to North Korea’s nuclear reactor

North Korea announcement to restart nuclear facility triggers warnings from state officials and key analysis on future.

Yongbyon complex nuclear facility

North Korea has announced it will restart all nuclear facilities at the main Yongbyon complex, some 90 kilometres north of Pyongyang, five years after being closed part of an international nuclear disarmament deal.

The report, which was released by the country’s state news agency on Tuesday, has escalated already high tensions following weeks of warlike rhetoric from North Korea aimed at South Korea and the US.

Reactions from officials and analysts warn against the latest move, which could see North Korea’s nuclear facilities up and running soon.

KCNA, North Korea state news agency

The General Department of Atomic Energy decided to adjust and alter the uses of the existing nuclear facilities, to begin with aims at “bolstering the nuclear armed force both in quality and quantity.” (Quoting an unnamed official spokesman)

Kim Jong-un, North Korea leader

Our nuclear strength is a reliable war deterrent and a guarantee to protect our sovereignty…It is on the basis of a strong nuclear strength that peace and prosperity can exist and so can the happiness of people’s lives. (From a speech made on Sunday and released on Tuesday)

Cho Tae-young, South Korea foreign ministry spokesman

North Korea should keep their promise and agreements and they should keep to denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. Our government will closely monitor the situation.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Chief

North Korea appears to be “on a collision course with the international community” amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula. “The current crisis has already gone too far” and he is “convinced that no one intends to attack [North Korea].”

Hong Lei, Beijing foreign ministry spokesman 

We have noticed the remarks of the DPRK and express our regret…We call on relevant parties to keep calm and exercise restraint.

Yoshihde Suga, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary

If North Korea is to start maintenance or on or restart its nuclear reactor, it would breach the six-party talks and the UN Security Council resolution and would be a provocative action. We have to respond to this carefully. 

Grigory Logvinov, Russian Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador at Large 

We do not think that either side could deliberately move to start hostilities, but, given the current situation, there is a high probability of spontaneous clashes, which could cause the situation to collapse.

Yang Uk, South Korean research analyst

There is so little chance that North Korea will give up its nuclear capacity…This kind of reactor is very low tech and low cost – they can get it online soon enough.

Florence Looi, Al Jazeera Asia-Pacific reporter

The nation would work towards becoming a nuclear state; [with this announcement] they’re putting it in clearer terms…The declaration that this plant will resme means that North Korea could be a step closer to plutonium enriched weapons. 

Hwang Jihwan, North Korea expert at the University of Seoul

North Korea is keeping tension and crisis alive to raise stakes ahead of possible future talks with the United States…North Korea is asking the world, ‘What are you going to do about this?’

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies