Conflict & Justice

South Korea nuclear weapons possible within 6 months, newspaper says


South Korean protestors hold up banners reading "Kim Jong-Un Out!" during a rally denouncing North Korea's nuclear test, in Seoul on February 22, 2013.



A conservative South Korean newspaper says the country could produce nuclear weapons within six months without acquiring outside help.

According to blogger Robert Koehler’s reporting of a story from Munhwa Ilbo, South Korea’s 23 nuclear reactors make it one of the world’s most prolific commercial nuclear nations, giving it the raw material and knowledge to build nukes.

Munhwa Ilbo quoted anonymous military sources, but referred also to Korea’s brush with the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2004.

It was then that IAEA inspectors toured facilities in the South after the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute produced 0.2 grams of enriched uranium.

Furthermore, according to, Korea attempted to acquire a French reprocessing plant and jet engine technology from Lockheed in the US with aims at producing nukes in the 1970s and ’1980s.

Those plans were halted by American officials; the two nations signed an agreement in 1956 preventing South Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons.

More from GlobalPost: For US, North Korea’s nukes are a red line

Dong-A Ilbo, a Korean news organization, theorized earlier this month that despite the country’s nuclear program remaining “peaceful,” the technology exists to build weapons.

“Experts say that after decades of nuclear research, the country has accumulated a considerable level of direct and indirect knowledge for manufacturing nuclear bombs,” Dong-A reported.

Speculation comes after North Korea claimed earlier this month it conducted a third successful nuclear test.

Some South Korean politicians have campaigned for the country to launch a nuclear weapons program.

Also today, the US and Japan coordinated efforts on North Korea, saying each is committed to “strong actions.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met President Barack Obama today about “our concerns about the provocative actions that have been taken by North Korea and our determination to take strong actions in response,” Obama said, according to AFP.

Abe is in America to speak with the president.

“We just cannot tolerate the actions of North Korea such as launching missiles and conducting a nuclear test,” the Japanese leader said, AFP reported.

More from GlobalPost: South Korea calls for development of nuclear weapons