North Korea, with the help of Pakistan, may have opened an alternative way to clandestinely build nuclear weapons as early as 1990s by constructing a plant to manufacture a gas needed for uranium enrichment.
Pyongyang may have been enriching uranium on a small scale by 2002, with maybe 3,000 or even more centrifuges and Pakistani supplied vital machinery, drawings and technical advice, The Washington Post has reported citing an account by Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb programme.
The Post quoting a US intelligence official said Khan’s information adds to their suspicions that North Korea has long pursued the enrichment of uranium in addition to making plutonium for bombs.
The paper quoted the Pakistani scientist as saying that there was tacit agreement between the two governments that his laboratory “would advice and guide them with a centrifuge programme and that the North Koreans would help Pakistan in fitting the nuclear warhead into the Ghauri missile“.
The paper quoted Dr. Khan as saying that during his visit to North Korea in 1999, he was taken to a mountain tunnel, where his source had showed him components of three finished nuclear warheads.