For years, whenever the country of North Korea has made a claim that they have an attack in place, it usually falls on deaf ears. After all, it has been more than 20 years since North Korea first said that they were going to be pulling out of the Nonproliferation Treaty (which finally happened in 2002) and they have made multiple threats to develop nuclear weapons and use them in the years since.
While most of their claims have gone ignored, the latest announcement has raised concern for some people. North Korean officials announced that they are now planning to produce plutonium by reprocessing fuel rods, and that they will continue with nuclear testing. North Korea claims that the testing is in response to the United States being a “threat” to the country, and the U.S. has issued several warnings to North Korea to cease their nuclear operations.
Not only is North Korea planning on producing plutonium, but they also say that they have produced enough uranium to create nuclear weapons and power, and that their plans are going according to schedule. They issued a statement to Japanese media, saying that fuel rods removed from nuclear reactors have been reprocessed to create the plutonium.
North Korea did not, however, say how much uranium or plutonium that they have created, but international officials are well aware of North Korea’s plans. The United States responded after receiving reports from the United Nations about the plutonium production. In a statement, the State Department said that “We call on North Korea to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further raise tensions in the region,” claiming that North Korea is violating United Nations agreements.
Many of the newer sanctions were put into place after North Korea had several nuclear weapons tests, including a long range rocket that North Korea said had the capability of reaching the United States. While it still seems that North Korea is far from being a legitimate threat, their development is unnerving to many.
The validity of what North Korea says will always be in question, and that they make claims beyond their actual capabilities in response to actions that they don’t agree with. For instance, Joel Wit of 38 North says that North Korea is making their newest claims based on joint exercises between United States and South Korean militaries.
North Korea is adamant that they are able to launch an attack on the United States, saying that their weapons have become lighter and “Under conditions that the United States constantly threatens us with nuclear weapons, we will not discontinue nuclear tests.” Hopefully we never have to see weapons from either side being put to use, and North Korea will continue to be monitored by many of the world’s developed countries.