washingtonpost.com  > World > Asia/Pacific > East Asia > South Korea > Post


Friday, November 12, 2004; Page A20

U.N. Agency Finds No Evidence S. Korea Sought Nuclear Weapon

VIENNA -- Nuclear experiments acknowledged by South Korea earlier this year produced minute amounts of plutonium and near weapons-grade uranium, but there was no evidence linking them to an attempt to produce an atomic weapon, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Thursday.

The report, drawn up by the International Atomic Energy Agency and made available to the Associated Press, followed up on disclosures that South Korea sporadically dabbled in uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing from the early 1980s to 2000.

Uranium enriched to weapons grade and plutonium can both be used to make nuclear warheads. Officials acknowledged the experiments under pervasive inquiries by the IAEA but insisted that they were small in scale and conducted by scientists who never informed the government.

The report also revealed a separate attempt at enriching uranium. But it said this attempt -- to do it chemically -- resulted in extremely low enrichment, far below the level used to make armaments.


JERUSALEM -- Heavily armed police commandos stormed a Jerusalem church compound and arrested Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear whistle-blower who recently completed an 18-year prison term for treason.

Vanunu, who had lived at the church since his release in April, was arrested on suspicion of revealing classified information, police said. A magistrate ordered him held under house arrest for seven days.

Vanunu was convicted in 1988 of disclosing secrets he learned as a nuclear reactor technician. The information led experts to conclude that Israel had the world's sixth-largest stockpile of nuclear arms. Israel follows a policy of nuclear ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying it has such weapons.


NEW DELHI -- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a reduction in troops in disputed Kashmir in a fresh initiative to push forward a fraying peace process with Pakistan. Singh said the troops would be withdrawn starting this winter, though he did not disclose how many. Pakistan described his announcement as a positive step.

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A strong, magnitude-6 earthquake rocked parts of eastern Indonesia early Friday, killing six people, injuring 40 and damaging hundreds of buildings, officials said. The quake was centered 20 miles off the eastern coast of Alor island, about 1,000 miles east of Jakarta.


BUCHAREST, Romania -- Half a million Jews were killed in Romania's Holocaust, many more than previously thought, according to a special panel set up to shed light on the country's Nazi past. The international panel urged that Romania, an ally of Adolf Hitler in World War II, face up to its history by building a memorial to those who died. Previous figures put the number of dead at 420,000.

the americas

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Rights group Amnesty International condemned what it said were summary executions by police, serious human rights abuses and an alarming number of illegal detentions in Haiti. The report added to recent complaints that the U.S.-backed government is persecuting supporters of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

-- From News Services

© 2004 The Washington Post Company