White House spokesman Josh Earnest today condemned North Korea for its “irresponsible provocation” in announcing the resumption of activity at the Yongbyon Reactor, the main source of plutonium for their nuclear weapons program.
The announcement isn’t exactly a revelation, as back i April there were reports suggesting that there were signs of resumed activity at Yongbyon, and this is just the first official confirmation to that end. It came with North Korean talk of improved nuclear weapons creation.
The US has doubted claims that North Korea has mastered miniaturisation of nuclear warheads to the point of making deliverable, missile-based weaponry. North Korea is estimated to have enough material that, if they could miniaturize properly, they could make about a dozen weapons.
North Korea’s announcement seemed desperate to forward the idea that they have deliverable weapons already, and are prepared to use them in retaliation if attacked. Earnest insisted the US will never accept North Korea’s status as a nuclear state.