S. Korea plays down DPRK's claim of successful nuclear fusion

16:41, May 12, 2010      

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South Korean government officials and nuclear experts have played down the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s claim Wednesday that it has succeeded in producing a nuclear fusion reaction.

"The successful nuclear fusion marks a great event that demonstrated the rapidly developing cutting-edge science and technology" of the DPRK, a Rodong Sinmun report, carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, said.

Local media in Seoul cited unidentified South Korean officials as dismissing Pyongyang's claim, and many nuclear experts here also laughed it away.

Seoul's Yonhap News Agency quoted a South Korean foreign ministry official as calling Pyongyang's claim "absurd," citing a lack of intelligence indicating the country has costly facilities needed for such experiments.

The unidentified official also reportedly said that Pyongyang's nuclear fusion experiments, if confirmed to be true, could in a broad sense be tantamount to a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, which demands the country halt its nuclear weapons programs and conduct no further nuclear or missile tests.

Nuclear experts here said it is hard to buy the DPRK's claim, as scientists have for years tried unsuccessfully to achieve a nuclear fusion. They said Pyongyang might have conducted a very basic experiment, if it ever did.

South Korean experts on Pyongyang saw it as another bargaining chip the DPRK wants on its table before returning to the stalled six-party talks aimed at ridding the country of nuclear arms programs. Some pointed out Pyongyang wants to retain its image as a nuclear state by making the claim.

Source: Xinhua
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