(NationalSecurity.news) Impoverished North Korea is plowing scarce resources into restarting the country’s nuclear bomb fuel manufacturing facilities in what many see as an escalation of hostility.
Further, the Stalinist regime of Kim Jong-un has said it is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the United States “and other hostile forces” at any time if they “persistently seek their reckless hostile policy towards the [North] and behave mischievously.”
In state-run media, Pyongyang said its plutonium and highly enriched uranium facilities at the main Nyongbyon nuclear center had been “rearranged, changed or readjusted and they started normal operation.”
The announcement follows an earlier warning that North Korea is prepared to launch “satellites” aboard long-range rockets – which Western intelligence officials considers to be banned long-range missiles – to signify the ruling communist party’s 70th anniversary on Oct. 10.
The North often uses inflammatory and threatening rhetoric in its official press releases, but the restart of nuclear bomb-making processes is seen as worrisome to defense and foreign policy experts.
As reported by The Associated Press (AP), the director of North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration told the official Korean Central News Agency that the country’s scientists were moving ahead on the final development for a new Earth observation satellite allegedly for weather forecasts.
The North’s activities have not gone unnoticed by rival South Korea, where somewhere around 30,000 U.S. troops are stationed.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Sept. 15 that a rocket launch would amount to a “serious provocation,” a military threat and a violation of United Nations resolutions, according to the South’s Yonhap News Agency.
According to the news agency, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said: “South Korea and the United States are jointly watching for all possibilities with regard to North Korea’s (potential) long-range missile launch. So far, no particular signs have been seen.”
North Korea has spent decades working to perfect a multistage, long-range rocket. However, after multiple failures Pyongyang managed to put its first satellite into space with a long-range rocket in 2012. The UN, however, pronounced it a banned test of ballistic missile technology and imposed sanctions.
Experts note that ballistic missiles and long-range rockets share similar bodies, engines and other technology, the AP reported.
Angered by the sanctions, North Korea then conducted its third nuclear test in February 2013, which invited further international condemnation and sanctions.
In a related development, as reported by NationalSecurity.news, the North Korean military has constructed a vast intricate underground missile complex at its Sohae missile and space launch facility near the northwestern border with China that includes facilities for preparing missiles for launch and storage areas connected by rail lines.
The secret facility was built over the course of a decade, U.S. officials familiar with it said, noting that it serves as an example of North Korea’s prowess at building such installations below ground.
The facility is causing problems for the U.S. intelligence community, which is having more difficulty in identifying upcoming North Korean missile launches.