Pyongyang ‘restoring main nuke facilities’

Kyodo News

AP North Korea has begun to reassemble its main nuclear facility, citing a delayed removal from a U.S. list of terrorist sponsors, Japanese media reported Wednesday.

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News agency said North Korea started putting its Yongbyon facility back together Tuesday, days after it halted disablement work. The reports cited unidentified officials related to the disarmament talks.

North Korea last week said it had stopped disabling its nuclear reactor and threatened to restore the plutonium-producing facility, citing Washington’s failure to remove it from the list of terrorist sponsors.

In response, Washington repeated its demand that North Korea must first agree to a plan to verify an accounting of nuclear programs it submitted in June, if it wants to be taken off the list.

Kyodo said the reassembling started at the Yongbyon facility on Tuesday.

Despite the move, NHK said, North Korea was still allowing access to experts from U.S. and International Atomic Energy Agency.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters Tuesday that the U.S. was talking to North Korean officials to “look for solutions” to move forward international nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Fox News carried a similar report from Washington, quoting an unidentified U.S. official as saying that the North has been threatening the move for some time.

The threat has been interpreted as a way for North Korea to express anger and “to put further pressure on us.”