SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea has restarted its nuclear facilities to harvest weapons-grade plutonium, an official said today, in an escalation of the communist state’s standoff with the international community over its nuclear and missile programs.
The move “will contribute to bolstering the nuclear deterrence for self-defense in every way to cope with the increasing military threats from the hostile forces,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said in comments carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.
The announcement comes as diplomatic efforts to bring Pyongyang back to nuclear negotiations, which have been stalled since December, are deadlocked.
North Korea has expelled international nuclear monitors, vowed to restart its atomic program and quit disarmament negotiations to protest the U.N. Security Council condemnation of its April 5 rocket launch.
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