North Korea maintained
its unpredictable course in 2008. The country raised hopes that it was
on the path toward denuclearization when it allowed international
inspectors into its nuclear facilities and turned over thousands of
pages of documents detailing its efforts to reprocess plutonium for
nuclear weapons. Months later, however, any progress seemed to have
ground to a halt as North Korea rescinded the offer to inspectors and
said it would restart its plutonium reprocessing plant at Yongbyon.
The miasma was further complicated by reports that President Kim
Jong-Il had suffered a stroke, leaving many to question who was
calling the shots in the famously secretive country.
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