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More N. Korean Bombs Likely, U.S. Official Says

North Korea is likely to be producing nuclear bombs even as it conducts negotiations with the United States and four other countries on ending its weapons programs, the senior U.S. official responsible for those talks told Congress yesterday. “Time is certainly a valid factor in this,” said James A. Kelly, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We don’t know the details, but it’s quite possible that North Korea is proceeding along, developing additional fissionable material and possibly additional nuclear weapons.” Although North Korea has asserted that it has produced weapons-grade plutonium since the crisis over Pyongyang’s nuclear programs began 20 months ago — and though U.S. intelligence analysts broadly believe that the number of nuclear weapons held by North Korea has increased from two to at least eight during this period — it is highly unusual for a senior administration official to concede publicly that North Korea’s stockpile may be growing.Full Story

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