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» 08/22/2012
NORTH KOREA
Construction of Yongbyon nuclear reactor leaps forward
Satellite images show a new dome on the nuclear reactor, which had been a year in the making. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-un might visit Iran to take part in a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - North Korea has completed a critical step in building a new nuclear reactor. Recent satellite images analysed by experts said that North Korean experts have been able to place a dome on a light water reactor at Yongbyon, said Allison Puccioni of Jane's Defence Weekly. But it may take several more years before the site is fully operational.

The international community has been critical of this new reactor and of Pyongyang's nuclear tests since 2008. Pushed by the late Kim Jong-il, Pyongyang's nuclear programme has led the United States and South Korea to end humanitarian aid to the Communist nation, already reeling from famine, floods and policies of economic autarchy that are inappropriate for the country.

For North Korea's Stalinist leaders, the new nuclear reactor has civilian purposes. South Korean intelligence sources believe however it can produce highly enriched uranium for weapons.

At present, ''The emplacement of the dome is a significant development,'' Puccioni said. Now the reactor could be used to produce plutonium or be converted for the purpose of enriching uranium, which is needed to make nuclear weapons.

These developments appear to confirm that North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un plans to stay the militarist course set by his father.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Kim may visit Iran on Sunday for the Non-Aligned Movement summit. Although the visit has not been confirmed, if it did take place it would be a strong message for China, North Korea's only big power friend.


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See also
07/20/2007 CHINA – NORTH KOREA – UNITED N
No agreement on North Korea’s nuclear programme
06/27/2008 NORTH KOREA
Pyongyang gives in and destroys “atomic” tower
07/18/2007 NORTH KOREA - UN
Pyongyang shuts down another 4 nuclear reactors
07/16/2007 NORTH KOREA - USA
IAEA confirms the closure of Yongbyon
04/11/2007 NORTH KOREA - USA
Pyongyang’s Macau accounts unblocked in anticipation of nuclear shut down

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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