Washington Post: Russia offered to build nuke plant for North Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg. (The Kremlin/Released)

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JANUARY 30, 2019 RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Washington Post is reporting that Russian officials have made a secret proposal to build North Korea a nuclear power plant in exchange for dismantling its weapons programs.

In its article published on January 29, The Washington Post cited unnamed U.S. officials as saying that Moscow made the offer several months ago. U.S. intelligence officials only became aware of it in late 2018.

As part of the deal, the newspaper reported, Russia would build and operate the plant and transfer waste back to Russia. That would reduce the risk that Pyongyang would use the plant to build nuclear weapons.

The White House had no immediate response to The Washington Post report.

President Donald Trump has made negotiations with North Korea a priority, but those efforts have so far yielded little.

Talks between Pyongyang and Moscow have gained new momentum recently, and a second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is now planned for late February.

In testimony on January 29 before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said it was unlikely that Pyongyang would ever agree to completely denuclearize.

North Korea’s leaders see having a nuclear weapons capability as “critical to regime survival,” Coats said.