South Korea’s Defense Ministry has identified about 100 North Korean sites involved in Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
JoongAng Daily reported Tuesday that South Korean Defense minister Kim Tae-young told Kukhoe (National Assembly) members, “There are about 100 sites related to the nuclear” programme in North Korea, adding, “We have a complete list of them. We have sufficient information as to the locations where items related to the nuclear programme are stored and the delivery means are placed.” Kim expressed confidence that the South Korean military could strike any of them “if it is absolutely clear a North Korean offensive is imminent.”
North Korea, which withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in January 2003, has conducted two known atomic tests, utilising plutonium produced at its sole nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, 60 miles north of the capital Pyongyang, which came online in 1986 after seven years of construction with Soviet assistance. On October 9, 2006, North Korea exploded its first self-proclaimed nuclear device; the second test occurred on May 25 this year.
In 1994 North Korea and the United States signed an agreement under which the North would shut down Yongbyon in exchange for assistance in constructing two nuclear reactors for producing electricity.