RealNews

Bush Envoy Briefs Panel After Talks on A-Bombs

President Bush’s chief negotiator with North Korea told a Senate panel on Tuesday that it was “quite possible” that the country had turned all 8,000 of its spent nuclear fuel rods into plutonium to fuel nuclear weapons. The assessment, by James A. Kelly, the assistant secretary of state for Asia, who just returned from negotiations with North Korea in Beijing, left open the possibility that while the Bush administration has been conducting painstakingly slow negotiations with the North, the government there made good on its threats to produce several new atomic bombs. But after his testimony, Mr. Kelly said that formal intelligence assessments of North Korea’s arsenal had not changed, and that “the operative phrase I used is, `We don’t know for sure.’ “Until Tuesday, the administration’s public position had been that it believed that North Korea, at worst, had turned only a portion of the spent fuel rods into nuclear fuel. Full Story

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