from Vantage Point July, 2011 News Focus
U.N. Panel Urges Immediate Stop of North Korea's Uranium Program
THE PANEL SAID IN A REPORT THAT N. KOREA HAS LONG PURSUED
A UEP STRESSING THAT THE UEP CAN BE EASILY DIVERTED TO MILITARY USE.
AUnited Nations panel has recommended that the U.N. Security Council urge
North Korea to make an immediate halt to its uranium enrichment program
(UEP), saying the UEP is apparently aimed for military purposes, rather than for
energy for peaceful use as claimed by the socialist state.
The U.N. Security Council panel also recommended the Security Council to
demand the North stop the construction of a light-water reactor, which the North
also described as being used for peaceful purposes, saying the construction is the
violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, both 1718 and 1874.
The U.N. recommendations were revealed by a report of the panel of experts
established pursuant to resolution 1874, which was obtained by Yonhap News
Agency on May 29.
However, the report has not been approved due to the opposition from China,
North Korea’s staunchest ally. All of the 15 Security Council members need to sign
it before being released. China is one of veto-wielding five permanent members of
China has blocked a United Nations committee from adopting a report condemning
North Korea’s establishment of a uranium enrichment program that could serve
as a second way of making nuclear weapons aside from its plutonium-based program,
according to a diplomat on Feb. 24.
“China opposed the adoption of a report on North Korea’s uranium enrichment
program during today’s U.N. Security Council committee meeting to assess the
implementation of sanctions on North Korea,” the diplomat said, asking anonymity.
Also disclosed by the panel report are photos of the North’s nuclear complex in
Yongbyon, a fuel fabrication complex, and uranium enrichment workshop, all of
which were taken by the observatory satellite IKONOS on May 2.
The report claimed that North Korea has long pursued a uranium enrichment
program, saying that the UEP can be easily diverted to military use.
Saying that the centrifuges the North has showed to a U.S. scientist last
November are not the only facility, the report claimed that there is a high likelihood
that the North has other secret or similar nuclear facilities that can produce
both lightly and highly enriched uranium.
North Korea showed the new light-water reactor and a nearby uranium enrich-
ment plant to Siegfried Hecker, a professor at Stanford University, in November,
saying the uranium enrichment is for fueling the light-water reactor for power generation.
Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, said he was shown
the 100-megawatt experimental light-water reactor “in the early stages of construction.”
He said at the time that he saw hundreds of centrifuges in three rows in a nearby
uranium enrichment plant and was told by North Koreans that the plant has 2,000
Recently, a U.S. think tank said North Korea has made progress in building a
light water reactor in its nuclear complex, amid concerns that might serve as another
way of making nuclear weapons for the reclusive communist state.
In the report, the panel members also claimed that the North’s nuclear program
is a big challenge for its complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of
nuclear weapons programs.
The report emphasized the need for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s
(IAEA’s) monitoring and complete access to the North’s all nuclear facilities and
It also pointed out that the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon have been exposed to
the danger of contamination, saying that nuclear safety should be discussed as a
part of the issue for the North’s denuclearization.
But the panel’s report was not adopted due to opposition from Chinese members
and was not open to the public.
North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003 as
Washington, citing the North’s then-clandestine uranium project, suspended the
construction of two light-water reactors being built under a 1994 bilateral deal.
The regime expelled IAEA monitors in early 2009 in the wake of U.N. Security
Council sanctions for a missile test. Months later, Pyongyang detonated its second
nuclear device, after the first detonation in 2006, drawing harsher U.N. sanctions.
The Security Council imposed sanctions against North Korea after its first nuclear
test in 2006 and stepped up sanctions after its second test in 2009 to try to derail
the country’s rogue nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The council authorized the experts panel in the 2009 resolution and the seven
independent members were appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Meanwhile, China joined the rest of the U.N. Security Council on June 10 in
renewing the mandate of a committee of experts monitoring sanctions against
North Korea even though Beijing has blocked release of the experts’ latest report,
according to AP. (Yonhap News)