North Korea has confirmed that it has produced additional plutonium for its atomic weapons programme, further pressuring the US in to begin bilateral talks.
North Korea said it reprocessed 8,000 spent fuel rods at the end of August at its main Yongbyon complex, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
The reprocessing of plutonium for atomic weapons production has beem strongly opposed by the US, especially seeing as North Korea is committed to the 2005 joint nuclear disarmament programme.
The recent announceent by North Korea shows it has violated its denuclearisation commitments and UN Security Council resolutions.
In 2005, North Korea entered the six-party nuclear disarmament talks with fellow members South Korea, the US, Russia, Japan and China and quit the talks in April 2009 after the UN officially disapproved of its long-range rocket launch over Japan.
The additional extraction of plutonium, including the North’s current stockpile, could create six to eight nuclear bombs, according to reports.
US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said North Korea is expecting the US to relaunch the six-party talks to work on its goal of nuclear disarmament of the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has pledged to restart its nuclear programme shutdown under a 2007 six-party pact seeking US recognition as a nuclear-armed state in return for guarantees of non-proliferation, but Washington says it will never recognise a nuclear-armed North.
The atomic weapons test conducted by North Korea in May 2009 was its second since 2006.