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North Korea Rejects Reports of HEU Warhead Mass-Production

The North Korean government on Friday said Japanese news organizations were wrong to assert that former Pyongyang leader Kim Jong Il had authorized the large-scale production of uranium-based warheads prior to his death in December, the Yonhap News Agency reported (see GSN, July 3).

The Japanese articles referred to a February North Korean Workers Party document indicating that Kim had ordered regime officials to "mass-produce nuclear bombs" using weapon-grade uranium, possibly processed at the uranium enrichment facility in Yongbyon (see GSN, July 2).

"It is a politically motivated plot to create a fresh atmosphere for ratcheting up international pressure on the (North) as the story is a totally groundless and sheer fabrication," the state-controlled Korean Central News agency said (Yonhap News Agency, July 6).

Meanwhile, rumors are circulating that a senior North Korean weapons scientist has been apprehended by the Stalinist regime and thrown into one of the isolated country's infamous concentration camps, Australia's ABC News reported on Wednesday.

Kim So In, who is thought to be the chief of North Korea's missile and nuclear weapon development efforts, has been sent with his family to the Yoduk prison camp, according to a report by the South Korean Chosun Ilbo newspaper. Kim allegedly supplied a foreign country with highly classified information on the North's atomic program (Mark Willacy, ABC News/Yahoo!News, July 4).

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