North Korea has announced to the world that it has resumed its nuclear career . This is suggested by the activity in its most iconic reactor that has been recorded in the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The failure of the negotiations with Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s mitigated interest in retaking them push towards a spiral of action-reaction of known elements: nuclear outrage, global condemnation and sanctions, detente, negotiations, agreements … and nuclear outrage.
The report already has the conviction. The finding is “deeply problematic”, “a cause for serious concern” and “a clear violation of UN resolutions” , clarifies the IAEA. The Yongbyon nuclear reactor remained closed since Kim Jong-un, after chaining several intercontinental missile launches , launched the diplomatic route at the end of 2018.
The images taken from satellites have detected the withdrawal of water that would have been used to cool the reactor . There is also bustle at a nearby laboratory where fuel rods are allegedly processed into plutonium to make nuclear bombs.. The matter is shrouded in the usual speculation surrounding North Korea since it threw out international inspectors 13 years ago. It is unknown if something is being processed and, if so, if they are new bars or made years ago.
There are fewer doubts about your message. Yongbyon is the most iconic facility in the North Korean nuclear program, has been its core for decades and served as a thermometer of bilateral relations .
Pyongyang toppled one of its cooling towers in 2008 following an agreement with Washington and raised it when tensions returned. “We suspect that they have more facilities but it is the only one that Pyongyang has recognized.
It is very likely that they have continued with their nuclear program in underground facilities because they never reached any agreement with the United States. They know that the IAEA, the United States and Korea from the South monitor Yongbyon from satellites and that the activity was going to be detectedimmediately, “judges Ramón Pacheco, professor of International Relations at King College and an expert on North Korea.
The images do not reveal that Pyongyang has resumed its nuclear program but rather his intention to inform the world that it has resumed. Yongbyon already starred in the Vietnam summit of Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump in 2019 that ended with the hasty departure of both without tasting the banquet.
Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho revealed at a midnight press conference that they had offered their dismantling supervised by international experts in exchange for the end of sanctions related to the civil economy that were punishing the lives of their people.
With Trump’s refusal, he added, they understood his unwillingness to dialogue . The former president woke up in Hanoi from the dream of an immediate solution to a conflict that had lasted for decades with which he intended to polish his international legacy.
The relief in the White House had a new scenario with chiaroscuro . Biden knows that Obama’s stubborn refusal to talk only aggravates the problem and he has shown his interest in resuming negotiations in some emails to Pyongyang that have not been addressed .
It pains the inflamed North Korean ego that it does not know itself high on the international agenda of Biden, busy with the brake of the Chinese boom and now with the Afghan mess.
He also wants guarantees that something more tangible than a handful of photos for the newspaper library will emerge from the next negotiations. The leader announced in January that he was continuing the development of his nuclear program and the satellite photos of Yongbyon are the next logical step.
“I think they will sit down and talk, but North Korea now has two problems. The first is that it does not want to open its borders for fear of the coronavirus and it will not admit that an American delegation reaches Pyongyang or the border with South Korea.
The second is that now it lacks a position of strength because the pandemic and the food crisis have weakened it, “says Pacheco. The position of force with which he dragged Trump to the negotiating table rested on the launch of intercontinental missiles with alleged ability to hit the United States.