North Korea suspends dismantlement of nuclear facilities

August 26th, 2008 - 6:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, Aug 26 (DPA) North Korea said Tuesday it had stopped disabling its nuclear facilities in protest against the US failure to remove the country from its terrorist blacklist.The North Korean foreign ministry accused Washington of not having kept its side of a deal struck to end the nuclear weapons programme.

In response, North Korea will not keep its side of the agreement, a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Central News Agency.

“We have decided to immediately suspend disabling our nuclear facilities,” the spokesman said, adding that the measure has been effective as of Aug 14. All countries involved had been informed.

Pyongyang also considered restoring its nuclear facilities at Yongbyong to its original state, the ministry said, thereby retreating from its promise to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions.

In a deal struck in the six-party talks with participation of Russia, China, South Korea, Japan and the US, North Korea in June provided a detailed list of its nuclear facilities and stockpile.

In a highly-publicised symbolic move in July, North Korea destroyed a cooling tower at the nuclear compound at Yongbyong.

The US vowed to remove the communist state from its list of countries sponsoring terrorism and lift trade sanctions, but demanded Pyongyang agree to a more stringent verification process before doing so.

Washington’s actions constituted a “clear violation” of the six-party agreement, North Korea said.

US President George W. Bush, however, said during a visit to Seoul in early August that North Korea had to agree to a strict verification regime before the US would make good on its pledge.

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