There are no indications that North Korea has ceased its nuclear development at several key sites, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in report published on Monday.
The IAEA came to the conclusion as part of its regular analysis of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons development programs, following the creation of a new North Korea-focused executive group formed last year to help improve monitoring.
“The continuation and further development of the DPRK’s nuclear programme and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern,” the IAEA said in the report.
The group noted that ongoing activities at Yongbyon Experimental Nuclear Power Plant (5 MW(e)) reactor and the use of the building which houses the reported centrifuge enrichment facility were clear violations of UN resolutions on the DPRK.
According to the report, North Korea is also continuing work on a light water reactor, with apparent activity in the facility’s construction yard.
But the IAEA also said it had not seen major components being manufactured or moved to the reactor’s construction site, even though a new administrative building was added this year.
“The Agency has not observed indications of the delivery or introduction of major reactor components into the reactor containment building, nor has it observed any indication of the testing or operation of the reactor,” the report adds.
The group noted additional activity at North Korea’s Radiochemical Laboratory, the Yongbyon Nuclear Fuel Rod Fabrication Plant, The Pyongsan Mine and Concentration Plant and at “other locations within the Yongbyon site.”
Additional construction was also observed near the Kuryong river, where last year a new dam was constructed which could provide additional water to the light water reactor and the Yongbyon Experimental Nuclear Power Plant.
“In 2018, the Agency observed construction of a structure with the characteristics of a pump house near the 5MW(e) reactor,” the report reads.
“Based on the Agency’s observations, this construction may be related to changes in the cooling systems for the LWR and/or the 5MW(e) reactor.”
The report comes as progress on denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang appear to have stalled. North Korea has lashed out at the U.S., even while the latter’s Treasury Department continues to issue new designations for individuals and companies breaking UN sanctions.
Despite the apparent downturn, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday told Reuters he would likely meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un again.
“I stopped (North Korea’s) nuclear testing. I stopped (North Korea’s) missile testing. Japan is thrilled. What’s going to happen? Who knows? We’re going to see,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters.