North Korea nuclear progress outrunning sanctions: experts
By Giles Hewitt, AFPSEOUL -- North Korea's nuclear weapons program is developing beyond the international community's ability to rein it in with effective sanctions and export restrictions, regional analysts and nuclear experts warned Wednesday.
September 26, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
While opinion on the current level of the nuclear threat posed by North Korea was divided, a conference organized by the Asan Institute think tank in Seoul showed consensus on the urgent need for new strategies to keep the threat in check.
Even as Pyongyang's closest ally China announced an export ban to the North of technologies and goods with dual-use potential, experts questioned whether North Korea's weapons program hadn't already moved beyond its earlier dependence on external equipment and know-how.
“They are not at the start of this process anymore. They've been at it a long time,” said Park Jiyoung, director of the Asan Institute's Science and Technology Policy Center.
“It's clearly likely that the North will try to go beyond its current nuclear capability ... (and) export controls can't stop that development,” Park said.
North Korea has carried out three nuclear tests — the last, and most powerful, in February this year.
Satellite images suggest it has restarted a plutonium reactor at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex and doubled its uranium enrichment capacity at the same site.