North Korea ‘renovating nuclear facility’ in satellite images as tensions rise

North Korea has been continuing to expand their nuclear weapons as the government accuses the United States of double standards over military activities and pursuing a hostile policy.

New satellite images of the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Facility show it is being renovated, a sign Kim Jong-un is preparing to bolster production.

The 5-megawatt reactor, which could increase North Korea's nuclear material by 25%, was believed to have been inactive since 2018.

The news comes after North Korea and South Korea both test-fired ballistic missiles on September 15, the latest move in an arms race in which both nations have been developing increasingly sophisticated weapons.

However, the US has condemned the North Korean test as a threat to neighbouring countries but did not mention Seoul's test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

In an article published by the official KCNA news agency, International Affairs Analyst Kim Myong Chol said the United States had "stirred up a terrific furore" by presenting North Korea's actions as "threats to international peace and security".

Chol said: "Terming them armed provocations timed to a certain occasion and aiming at a specific target, it faulted those measures which belong to our right to self-defence.

"This arrogant and self-righteous response is a vivid revelation of the American-style double-dealing attitude.

"Today its high-handed practices have gone beyond the limit."

He also put blame on Washington for the stand-off preventing the restart of talks aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in return for sanctions relief.

He added: "Even though contacts and dialogues are undertaken now, it is certain that the U.S. would raise the double-dealing yardstick by which it would call our acts for self-defence threats' to the world peace and its allies."

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"Unless the U.S. vouches for the withdrawal of its hostile policy toward the DPRK, the word denuclearisation can never be put on the table."

His comments were in line with a statement on Wednesday by Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who lashed out at South Korea for criticising the North's "routine defensive measures" while developing its own missiles.

North Korea has been steadily developing its weapons systems, raising the stakes for the negotiations that were initiated between Kim Jong Un and former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 and have stalled since 2019.

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