North Korea said on Friday it has entered the final phase of uranium enrichment to make nuclear weapons and is also building more atomic bombs from spent reactor fuel rods.
"Experimental uranium enrichment has successfully been conducted to enter into completion phase," the communist state's official Korean Central News Agency said. "Reprocessing of spent fuel rods is at its final phase and extracted plutonium is being weaponised," the agency quoted its permanent representative to the United Nations as saying.
"We are prepared for both dialogue and sanctions," the representative was quoted as saying in a letter yesterday to the president of the UN Security Council.
The North for years denied it was operating a secret enriched uranium bomb-making programme in addition to its admitted plutonium-based operation. But a day after the UN imposed tougher sanctions in June following its May 25 nuclear test, the North vowed to start an enriched uranium programme and to extract plutonium from the fuel rods at its Yongbyon reactor.
The North's UN representative said he was responding to a letter from the world body's sanctions committee "requesting a clarification."