North Korean

NKorea warns it has restarted all nuclear bomb fuel plants

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A day after threatening long-range rocket launches, North Korea declared Tuesday that it has upgraded and restarted all of its atomic fuel plants so it can produce more — and more sophisticated — nuclear weapons.
Neither announcement was entirely unexpected, and outside analysts see the back-to-back warnings as part of a general North Korean playbook of using claimed improvements in its nuclear and missile programs to push for talks with the United States that could eventually provide the impoverished country with concessions and eased sanctions.
But the threats could deepen a standoff between North Korea and the U.S. and its allies because they strike at Washington's fear that each North Korean rocket and nuclear test puts it another big step closer to its stated goal of an arsenal of nuclear-tipped long-range missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland.
North Korea has spent decades trying to develop just such a weapon, and while it is thought to have a small arsenal of atomic bombs and an impressive array of short- and medium-range missiles, it has yet to demonstrate that it can produce nuclear bombs small enough to place on a missile or can make reliable long-range missiles.
Still, it has conducted three past nuclear tests and a series of steadily improving long-range rocket launches, and some analysts see Tuesday's announcement as foreshadowing an upcoming fourth nuclear test, which would push North Korea further along in its nuclear aims.
North Korea said Tuesday in its state media that, as it pledged to do in 2013, the plutonium and highly enriched uranium facilities at its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex have finally been "rearranged, changed or readjusted and they started normal operation.Read more on NewsOK.com

North Korea accuses U.S. of shutting down its Internet, calls Obama a ‘monkey in a tropical forest’

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has compared U.S. President Barack Obama to a monkey and blamed the U.S. for shutting down its Internet amid the hacking row over the movie “The Interview.”

The North has denied involvement in a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures, but has expressed fury over the comedy, which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Sony Pictures initially called off the release of the film, citing threats of terror attacks against U.S. movie theatres. Obama criticized Sony’s decision, and the movie opened this past week.

On Saturday, the North’s powerful National Defence Commission, which is led by Kim and is the country’s top governing body, said Obama was behind the release of “The Interview.” It described the movie as illegal, dishonest and reactionary.

“Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unidentified spokesman at the commission’s Policy Department said in a statement carried by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.

It wasn’t the first time North Korea has used crude insults against Obama and other top U.S. and South Korean officials. Earlier this year, the North called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a “hideous” lantern jaw and South Korean President Park Geun-hye a prostitute. In May, the North’s official news agency published a dispatch saying Obama has the “shape of a monkey.”

The defence commission also blamed Washington for intermittent outages of North Korean websites this past week, which happened after the U.S. had promised to respond to the Sony hack. The U.S. government has declined to say if it was behind the shutdown.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House on Saturday.

According to the North Korean commission’s spokesman, “the U.S., a big country, started disturbing the Internet operation of major media of the DPRK, not knowing shame like children playing tag.” DPRK refers to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The commission said the movie was the result of a hostile U.S. policy toward North Korea, and threatened the U.S. with unspecified consequences.

North Korea and the U.S. remain technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The rivals also are locked in an international standoff over the North’s nuclear and missile programs and its alleged human rights abuses. The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as deterrence against North Korean aggression.