North Korea has doubled size of uranium-enrichment facility, says U.N. inspector The Wall Street Journal
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano casts doubt on the chances of a diplomatic agreement to end North Korea’s weapons program.
WASHINGTON—North Korea has doubled the size of its facility for enriching uranium in recent years, according to the United Nations’ top nuclear inspector, who voiced doubt that a diplomatic agreement can end leader Kim Jong Un’s weapons programs.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, described North Korea as rapidly advancing its capacity to produce nuclear weapons on two fronts: the production of plutonium at its Yongbyon nuclear facility and the enrichment of uranium.
Amano played a leading role in negotiating the landmark nuclear agreement reached between world powers and Iran in 2015 to scale back Tehran’s nuclear program.
The Japanese diplomat, who was tapped this month to serve a third term as the IAEA’s chief, played down the chances for a similar diplomatic approach with Mr. Kim and his military government.
“This is a highly political issue. A political agreement is essential,” Amano said, but added. “We can’t be optimistic. The situation is very bad. We don’t have the reason to be optimistic.”
Comparing North Korea to Iran, he said: “The situation is very different. Easy comparisons should be avoided.”