Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Netanyahu says Gaza operation will not end quickly

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

North Korea asks IAEA to take seals off its nuclear site

Latest update : 2008-09-23

The deadlock over North Korea's disarmament deal worsened Monday, when it asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove seals and equipment from a nuclear facility, days after planning to restart the Yongbyon reactor.

North Korea asked the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday to remove seals and surveillance equipment from a key nuclear facility, the UN nuclear watchdog said Monday, amid a deadlock over a disarmament deal.
   
The request came three days after North Korea confirmed it was working to restart the Yongbyon reactor and no longer wanted US concessions promised under the landmark agreement in return for its denuclearisation.
   
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei told the Vienna-based agency's 35-member board of governors that North Korean officials asked the agency's inspectors earlier Monday to remove the seals and surveillance equipment.
   
The North Koreans said they wanted to be able to "carry out tests at the reprocessing plant, which they say will not involve nuclear material," ElBaradei said.
   
Earlier, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that Pyongyang had removed seals placed by the UN atomic watchdog on its nuclear facilities.
   
Reacting to the news Monday, US State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters at a news briefing that Washington is "very concerned" about North Korea's actions.
   
"We're very concerned about what the North appears to be doing at the Yongbyon facility," Wood said, adding that the United States was weighing its response.
   
"I don't want to get into outlining what we may or may not do if North Korea does this or that.  What we're going to try to do is lead them back on the path that they agreed to go on, toward denuclearization," he said.
   
The spokesman added: "We're trying to encourage them through discussions, through our diplomatic activities ... to do what they have committed to doing. The most important and most immediate is providing us with that verification regime."
   
The six-nation aid-for-disarmament deal is deadlocked by a dispute over verification of the declaration of the North's nuclear programme, which it delivered in June as part of the agreement.
   
The hardline communist state, which tested an atomic weapon in October 2006, began disabling its aging reactor and other plants at Yongbyon last November under the six-country pact with South Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Russia.
   
But it announced last month it had halted work in protest at Washington's refusal to drop it from the US blacklist of countries supporting terrorism, as promised under the deal.
   
Washington says the North must first accept strict outside verification of the nuclear inventory that Pyongyang handed over in June, a condition reiterated Monday by Wood, who said that once Washington is reassured by Pyongyang's actions on the nuclear question, "we can move toward delisting them from the State Department's State Sponsors of Terrorism List."
   
The reclusive Stalinist regime confirmed Friday that it was working to restart the plutonium-producing reactor.
   
US President George W. Bush expressed concern to his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Sunday over North Korea's plans, said Gordon Johndroe, a White House spokesman.
   
"The two presidents agreed that they would work hard to convince the North to continue down the path established in the six-party talks toward denuclearisation," said Johndroe.
   
In his opening address to the week-long IAEA board meeting, ElBaradei said agency inspectors "have observed ... that some equipment previously removed by the DPRK (North Korea) during the disablement process has been brought back."
   
Nevertheless, "this has not changed the shutdown status of the nuclear facilities at Yongbyon," ElBaradei said.
   
The IAEA has not been asked to take part in disablement activities, "but has been able to observe and document them," he said.
   
"I still hope that conditions can be created for the DPRK to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the earliest possible date and for the resumption by the agency of comprehensive safeguards," ElBaradei said.
 

Date created : 2008-09-23

COMMENT(S)