North Korea says it has reached the final stages of uranium enrichment, a process that would give it a second way to make nuclear weapons.
The claim is being seen as a new tactic to put pressure on the international community after a month of conciliatory gestures. Kim Jong-il’s regime has already tested plutonium-based nuclear devices. In Asia, pursuing efforts to bring Pyongyang back to long-stalled six-party talks, the US envoy for the North said the enrichment claim was “of concern.” The North’s nuclear test in May triggered tightened international sanctions against the reclusive state. Pyongyang says its latest steps, announced in a letter to the head of the UN Security Council, were in response to the tougher penalties.