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North Korea exported nuclear materials to Libya: VOA

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Published : 2011-05-08 19:41
Updated : 2011-05-08 19:41

The nuclear materials found in Libya in 2004 were highly likely to have been produced by North Korea, U.S.-funded broadcaster Voice of America said Saturday, citing an interview with a former senior official of the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

In the interview, Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said uranium hexafluoride, or UF6 ― used in uranium enrichment in Libya ― was very likely to have been made by the communist state.

Heinonen made the allegations based on North Korea’s purchase of parts to develop nuclear capabilities, information provided by Pakistan and other pieces of evidence.

To the question of whether there is any connection between the North and Syria with regard to nuclear technology developments, he said that that should be further investigated. He added that a nuclear reactor in Syria, which Israel destroyed, was very similar to North Korean reactors, indicating the possible connection between the two states.

The former deputy director general also said there was a good chance that North Korea has uranium enrichment facilities in areas other than the Yongbyon nuclear complex, stressing that IAEA inspectors should visit those facilities, provided they are allowed to do so.

Touching on the possibility of the North abandoning its nuclear programs, Heinonen said that the North could renounce them if the abandonment would lead to its economic development and security assurance.

The six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the North have been suspended since 2008. China, the host of the multilateral talks, has been seeking to establish a mood for the dialogue while the South is apparently reluctant to see the resumption of the talks immediately as inter-Korean issues, including two deadly attacks last year, have yet to be addressed.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)