North Korea expels IAEA inspectors, withdraws from six-nation talks

April 15th, 2009 - 12:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Seoul, Apr.15 (ANI): North Korea has asked IAEA inspectors to leave and said it will reactivate all its nuclear facilities.

The UN nuclear watchdog also confirmed that Tuesday that Pyongyang has quit the six-nation disarmament talks.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has informed IAEA inspectors in the Yongbyon facility that it is immediately ceasing all cooperation with the IAEA,” spokesman Marc Vidricaire from the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

“It has requested the removal of all containment and surveillance equipment, following which, IAEA inspectors will no longer be provided access to the facility.

“The inspectors have also been asked to leave the DPRK at the earliest possible time,” he added.

“The DPRK also informed the IAEA that it has decided to reactivate all facilities and go ahead with the reprocessing of spent fuel.”

According to the BBC, the US has condemned Pyongyang’s “provocative threats”, saying they were “a step in the wrong direction”.

Washington has joined China, Russia, Japan and other countries in urging Pyongyang to return to negotiations.

The row follows North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket on April 5, which critics say was a missile test.

Pyongyang says the rocket put a communications satellite into orbit and has reacted angrily to Monday’s statement from the UN Security Council condemning the launch.

It said the criticism was an “unbearable insult” which debased the North Korean people.

On Tuesday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it was permanently leaving the long-running six party talks on its nuclear programmes and would “not be bound by any agreement reached at the talks”.

The ministry also said it was taking steps to reactivate its partially-dismantled Yongbyon nuclear facility.

Pyongyang’s move has been criticised by all the other members of the six party talks - the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

Analysts say South Korea may soon announce that it is signing up to the controversial US-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) in response.

Membership of the PSI would allow South Korea to intercept any ships heading for the North which are believed to be carrying weapons or other items covered by existing sanctions. (ANI)

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