South Korea’s defense white paper says North Korea is an enemy, has reserves of 70 kg of plutonium. Photos/Illustrations
SEOUL – South Korea (South Korea) released its latest defense white paper on Thursday (16/2/2023). Interestingly, for the first time in six years, Carousel call neighbors North Korea (North Korea) as an enemy and reported Pyongyang’s increasing plutonium stockpile.
The biannual white paper offers a glimpse of North Korea’s increasingly covert nuclear and missile arsenal, as well as its conventional military capabilities.
The 2022 paper revived the regime’s and military’s description of North Korea as “our enemy”, which was last used in the 2016 edition, citing Pyongyang’s ongoing weapons development, cyber and military provocations, and recent portrayals of South Korea as the “enemy”.
“Because North Korea continues to make military threats without giving up its nuclear weapons, the regime and its military, which are the main agents of execution, are our enemies,” the document said as quoted by Reuters.
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The document says to supplement its nuclear stockpile, North Korea is continuing to reprocess spent fuel from its reactors and has about 70kg (154lb) of weapons-grade plutonium, up from the 50kg estimated in earlier reports.
North Korea has also secured “substantial” amounts of highly enriched uranium and a “significant degree of capability” to deploy an atomic bomb through six nuclear tests, a description of which has remained unchanged since 2018.
“Our military is strengthening surveillance as the likelihood of additional nuclear tests increases,” the document said, citing the restoration of tunnels destroyed at the North’s nuclear test site last year.
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The document also said North Korea last year violated a 2018 inter-Korean military pact that prohibited hostilities 15 times, including a drone intrusion in December, artillery fire inside a military buffer zone, and launching a missile across the de facto maritime border into South Korea in November.
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