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Washington again warns N. Korea on nukes

Sept. 23, 2006 at 3:39 PM
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Washington warned Pyongyang Saturday against "provocative actions" following a report North Korea was seeking more plutonium for weapons.

"Our position remains the same: They need to return to six-party talks and refrain from provocative actions which serve only to isolate them further from the international community," a State Department spokesman said.

His comment followed a statement Saturday by an American scholar in Beijing that Pyongyang planned to unload fuel rods at its Yongbyon reactor this fall.

Selig Harrison, a director of the Washington-based Center for International Policy, said he just returned from the North Korean capital and been told by North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan that Pyongyang planned to unload fuel rods from the reactor to get more plutonium for weapons and to pressure Washington for direct talks, CNN reported.

Removing the fuel rods means "North Korea is enhancing its weapons capability," said Harrison, one of the few U.S. scholars granted access to senior North Korean officials.

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