Quoting Deputy Central Intelligence Agency Director John McLaughlin, CNN reported that while activity at North Korea's nuclear plant Yongbyon had been frozen since 1994, the North Koreans have been secretly enriching plutonium for making a bomb.
In a country where "the practice of denial and deception is embedded in national strategy, we still cannot say for sure that nuclear weapons-related work is not going on somewhere else in North Korea," McLaughlin told a conference at Texas A&M University.
Although he delivered his speech on Tuesday, the text was not released until late Wednesday.
"Indeed, the North probably has one or two nuclear bombs -- and it may also have biological weapons alongside its chemical ones," he said.
North Korea has held to its missile launch moratorium and has signaled interest in negotiating a missile deal with the United States, but at the same time "it continued its proliferation activities," said McLaughlin.
According to him North Korea's No Dong missile and its variants have shown up in Iran and Pakistan. "And it is busy at work on new models that could reach the United States itself with nuclear-sized payloads," he said.
McLaughlin said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il so far has held to his father's legacy including the goal of "northern pre-eminence in a reunified Korea."
Kim Jong-il took over leadership of the country after his father Kim Il-sung died in 1994.
"Like his father, he has been shrewd enough to make bad behavior the keystone of his foreign policy," McLaughlin said.
"He knows that proliferation is something we want to stop. Thus, Kim Jong-il has tried to drum up outside assistance by trading off international concerns about his missile programs and sales."
His father played the Soviets off the Chinese, and now the son is "trying the same game, but with different players," McLaughlin said.
"He will seek to exploit any daylight he can find between the United States, South Korea, Japan, the European Union, or anyone else who might be inclined to offer him economic help," McLaughlin said.
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