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N. Korea reveals nuke plans

Seoul, April 18 (Reuters): Communist North Korea said today day it was “successfully reprocessing” more than 8,000 spent fuel rods under its nuclear programme that will be the focus of talks with the US and China next week.

Days before before the first formal talks with North Korea in the six-month-old nuclear crisis, North Korea’s foreign ministry said that the war in Iraq had taught Pyongyang that “it is necessary to have a powerful physical deterrent force”.

“As we have already declared, we are successfully reprocessing more than 8,000 spent fuel rods at the final phase, as we sent interim information to the US and other countries concerned early in March after resuming our nuclear activities from December,” a ministry statement said .

The statement, published by the official Korean Central News Agency, gave no details on the reprocessing and did not refer to extracting weapons-grade plutonium from the spent fuel rods, which are stored at the North’s Yongbyon nuclear complex.

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