TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — North Korea appears to have restarted its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, according to a new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The agency's latest report said there have been indications of activity "consistent with the operation of the reactor" since early July, per the BBC.
The UN agency was expelled by Pyongyang in 2009 and relies on satellite imagery to carry out its assessments.
The Yongbyon reactor’s function is to produce the plutonium needed to make nuclear weapons. Yongbyon has long been monitored by analysts who are trying to estimate how many weapons the communist regime has the capacity to build.
This was the first sign of activity at the reactor since December 2018, which was six months after U.S. President Donald Trump met Kim Jong-un in Singapore in an effort to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
In January this year, Kim vowed to further build out North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. He indicated a new focus on diversifying the size of the weapons, with his scientists to work on miniaturizing warheads as well as constructing a "super-large hydrogen bomb," per the BBC. Until now, there have been no indicators the country was progressing on these projects.
The UN agency said the latest developments are "deeply troubling" and a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.