According to the Associated Press, North Korea claims it will restart nuclear facilities it shut down in 2007 as part of disarmament talks as tensions rise between North Korea and the United States.
North Korea vowed Tuesday to restart all mothballed facilities at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex, adding to tensions already raised by near daily warlike threats against the United States and South Korea.
The reactor was shut down in 2007 as part of international nuclear disarmament talks that have since stalled.
A spokesman for the General Department of Atomic Energy said that the facilities to be restarted are a graphite-moderated 5 megawatt reactor, which generates spent fuel rods laced with plutonium and is the core of the Yongbyon nuclear complex. The reactor, when fully running, is capable of churning out one atomic bomb worth of plutonium — the most common fuel in nuclear weapons — a year.
America has responded by sending new weapons into the region including stealth bombers and now a guided missile destroyer.
The U.S. Navy is shifting a guided-missile destroyer in the Pacific to waters off the Korean peninsula in the wake of ongoing rhetoric from North Korea, U.S. defense officials said.
The USS McCain is capable of intercepting and destroying a missile, should North Korea decide to fire one off, the officials said.
Still, U.S. defense officials insist that there is nothing to indicate that North Korea is on the verge of another launch.
The conflict has been escalating in the wake of North Korea conducting a third nuclear weapons test, which prompted America and other governments to pursue new UN sanctions. North Korea has now said it has entered a state of war with South Korea. Many are dismissing North Korea’s actions and rhetoric as the typical bluster the rogue state shows when trying to extort aid from other countries. However, it remains unclear how this standoff ends if neither side is willing to bend.