North Korea made it clear on December 2nd that Russian plans to expand its enrichment industry by importing North Korean uranium ore are dependent on the condition that Russia support the North's position in the Six Party talks. Russian government sources have confirmed this to this paper. According to these same officials, Russian wants monopolistic import rights on uranium ore mined from sites at Pakchon and Sunchon, which are near the North Korean capital Pyongyang. The uranium would be enriched inside Russia with the aim of selling it for large sums of money as fuel for Russian-made nuclear power plants in China and Vietnam. Russia and North Korea have been in secret negotiations over this deal since 2002. Recently, the North Korean side has been positive about their prospects because they have tied opposition to the condition of an import monopoly on uranium ore to an understanding that Russia would advocate on their behalf at the Six Party talks in China and meet Pyongyang's desire for protection. On the one hand, the North Korean nuclear test was greated by a United Nations sanction resolution adopted in October, which affirmed steps towards an embargo on North Korean weapons of mass destruction and missile-related goods. To this end, Russia fears that the guarantees on peaceful use that are needed for imported North Korean uranium ore will be too complicated for their plans. Russia's current economic growth will continue to be fuelled by its exports of natural gas and crude oil, but its plans to expand its international influence in the nuclear fuel market by expanding its uranium enrichment industry. These problems have also occured regarding Iran's nuclear program, where Russia is supporting the construction of nuclear reactors in Bushehr that it will fuel, but it is also discretely taking up support for a UN sanctions resolution.The last paragraph is a bit of a rush job, but I think the readers will get the picture. It definitely lines up with the fact that Russia is renationalizing its civilian nuclear industry and is working to build up its low-enriched uranium exports.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Translation: North Korea says uranium deal with Russia contigent on their support in the Six Party talks
This article from the Chunichi Shimbun is a bit old, but it is what started me on this translation idea. Jane over at the ACW originally picked up on it as it was reported on in an IHT article on the same subject. The translation is as follows: North Korea on negotiations of uranium deal with Russia: Supply is contingent on Six Party talks support December 3, 2006