North Korean HEU – New England Edition

Sorry for the light posting as of late…I have been on holiday with limited internet access.

Anyway, I thought I’d follow up on “this post”: in which I discussed, among other topics, Mark Hibbs’ 2002 take on the Norks’ HEU program.

While doing research for “this _ACT_ article”: about the program, I came across this material in my files and thought I’d share it here. It’s all from fall 2002 and discusses the ROK’s take on Pyongyang’s HEU efforts. [I also referenced the _ACT_ piece in “this post.”: ]

p=. *N Korea/Khan Network Coop*

All three reports provide various details about what the US and ROK knew and when they knew it. For example, Yonhap reported 25 October 2002 that, at a “parliamentary briefing,” NIS Director Shin Kuhn said that *“the IS began to track” North Korea’s HEU program in “the early part of” 1999 when the ROK learned that “three North Koreans had been dispatched” to KRL.*

Shin also said that South Korean and US intelligence agencies “succeeded in *preventing North Korea from securing certain metallic alloys* needed for building centrifugal separators.”

In the same vein, ROK MoD spokesperson Hwang Eui-Don told reporters that Seoul informed Washington of *“crucial military intelligence in 1999”* regarding the HEU program, AFP reported 21 October 2002. According to Hwang, the ROK “obtained information in 1999 that North Korea was *trying to import production facilities”* for HEU.

Similarly, Yonhap reported three days earlier that, according to an unnamed “diplomatic source,” the *US started investigating the program in 1998.* The report added that Washington “know[s] *the North is receiving assistance from Russia, China, and Pakistan for the uranium-based nuclear program and that a Pakistani Nobel Prize laureate with expertise on nuclear development entered the North.”*

p=. *So What Did Seoul Think About All This?*

Well, according to the same Yonhap report, an unnamed South Korean lawmaker said that Yim Tong-won, special adviser to then-president Kim Dae-Jung, said that, “according to our government’s assessments,” the program *“is at an elementary stage.”* Moreover, he said that *the belief that North Korea admitted “to having such a program” in order to “stimulate negotiations with the United States is gaining more weight.”*

Incidentally, Washington notified Seoul about its intelligence on the HEU program in August 2002, Yim said.

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