Remember when we had an agreement based on trust and verification that would keep North Korea from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons? Good times, good times. With the ink drying on yet another “framework” deal with a rogue, dictatorial nation, North Korea announced today that they have restarted the proscribed Yongbyon reactor, and they are now ready to start launching nuclear weapons at the United States.
Get used to this sort of thing:
North Korea Tuesday announced that it had restarted its Yongbyon nuclear reactor and was ready to use nuclear weapons “any time” against the United States.
The announcement came less than a day after North Korea said it was preparing to launch a long-range rocket and will heighten fears that Kim Jong Un wants to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party on Oct. 10 with a literal bang.
All of the nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, including the uranium enrichment plant and 5 megawatt reactor, were now in “normal operation,” the unnamed director of North Korea’s Atomic Energy Institute said, according to a report published Tuesday by the official Korean Central News Agency.
North Korean scientists had been “steadily improving the levels of nuclear weapons with various missions in quality and quantity as required by the prevailing situation,” the report said, adding that North Korea is ready to face American hostility with “nuclear weapons any time.”
These kinds of provocations usually have a couple of purposes — either to twist arms for more food and fuel relief, or to celebrate the glorious Kim regime that starves its people of food and fuel. North Korea has a major anniversary coming up, so the US and Japan knew that some kind of stunt would occur. Restarting the Yongbyon reactor goes beyond a stunt, however. It signals that Pyongyang intends to expand its nuclear arsenal, and to do so in flagrant violation of its earlier agreements and UN resolutions. That this follows the feckless retreat from sanctions against Iran cannot be a coincidence.
At this point, all we can do is shrug at the Kim regime. No one has the will to go to war with North Korea, and so we will all do the Sanctions Dance and pray that someone deposes the Kims and restores sanity to the Korean peninsula before Kim The Latest decides he finally has to follow through on his threats. Get used to that, too, because we don’t even have the Sanctions Dance any more with the Iranians.