Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a world security think tank, said Thursday it would take North Korea less than a year to completely restore the reactor.
CNN writes the reactor's restoration began earlier this month, according to South Korean press reports. At the time, US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe expressed concern about the disarmament process, saying the US thinks "North Korea is taking these steps because it has not been removed from the terrorism list." CNN adds Pyongyang is also at odds with Washington over the verification of North Korean disarmament. The US is insisting on a system to monitor the disarmament, but North Korea has so far refused to accept such a provision.
"The U.S. is gravely mistaken if it thinks it can make a house search in [North Korea] as it pleases just as it did in Iraq," the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency.
"The DPRK (North Korea) neither wishes to be delisted as a 'state sponsor of terrorism' nor expects such a thing to happen," the North's official KCNA news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.