North Korea To Restart Nuclear Reactor, China On High Alert
KNCA (North Korea), YONHAP (South Korea), BBC NEWS (UK)
SEOUL - North Korea announced plans on Tuesday to restart a nuclear reactor it had agreed to shut down more than five years ago.
Authorities quoted by North Korea’s KCNA news agency said the country had plans to re-open and refurbish all its nuclear facilities, including the 5 megawatt Yongbyon reactor, which was mothballed in 2007.
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Yongbyon's 5 megawatt reactor - Source: Keith Luse
A spokesman for the General Department of Atomic Energy, said measures will be taken to "adjust and alter the use of existing nuclear facilities" so operations in Yongbyon can resume – a move likely to anger North Korea’s foes, as Yongbyon was the source for plutonium for North Korea's nuclear weapons program, according to BBC News.
North Korea’s latest provocative declaration has led China to place its military forces at "Level One" readiness – its highest threat level -- and increased its military presence on the border with North Korea in response to the country’s declaration of a “state of war” and threats to conduct missile attacks against the U.S. and South Korea.
Tensions have risen on the peninsula since North Korea conducted its third nuclear test last month, sparking a new round of UN-led sanctions.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday over a meeting with foreign affairs and security-related ministers that strong diplomatic and military deterrence was just as important as punishing the communist nation, adding that the current situation was "grave", South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reports.