China Told U.S. of Underwater Nuclear Plant in N.Korea

China obtained information in 2008 that North Korea has a secret underwater nuclear facility in its coastal waters, leaked U.S. diplomatic cables show.

According to a Sept. 26, 2008 cable from the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai disclosed by WikiLeaks, a North Korea expert in Shanghai announced this in a meeting about the six-party nuclear talks with Christopher Beede, the political and economic chief at the consulate.

The expert said the nuclear declaration the North submitted to China, the chair of the six-party talks, in May the same year was "incomplete" and Beijing had information that the North had a secret underwater nuclear facility. "For this reason, a debate has emerged within the Chinese leadership" over the six-party talks, he added.  

The source said some Chinese leaders believed that "continued momentum in the six-party talks is critical to their success" and that "Washington must adopt a more flexible attitude." Others took the "incomplete nuclear declaration as evidence that the regime in Pyongyang is truly 'a ticking time bomb'" and regarded "Washington's tough stance on verification as a potential opportunity" to control the North.

But a senior South Korean Foreign Ministry official said on Thursday said the cable "is not true. If it were true, would participating nations of the six-party talks have kept quiet?"

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 03, 2010 08:42 KST