North Korea to resume disabling its nuclear facilities

October 12th, 2008 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Pyongyang, Oct 12 (Xinhua) North Korea will resume disabling its nuclear facilities and permit the international inspectors into Yongbyong plant to verify the progress of disablement, the official KCNA news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying Sunday. Pyongyang will cooperate on the “verification of objects of the disablement of nuclear facilities,” as long as “the Oct 3 agreement is fully implemented,” the spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

North Korea welcomed the US decision of removing it from a list of states sponsoring terrorism, he said, adding that the two countries have come to an agreement on a “fair verification procedure in line with the phase of disablement” through bilateral “in-depth” talks held in Pyongyang from Oct 1 to 3.

The spokesman hinted that Pyongyang’s next step depends on whether the US delisting actually takes effect and the economic compensation is in place.

North Korea agreed in February 2007 during talks with the United States, Japan, China, Russia and South Korea to disable the Yongbyon facilities in exchange for economic aid and political concessions, including removal of its name from the terrorism list.

It began disabling its facilities in November and in June pulled down a cooling tower in a display of its determination to carry out the process.

But the deal ran aground in late July when Washington delayed Pyongyang’s removal from the terrorism list until the communist country agreed to verification.

Pyongyang protested, saying verification was never part of the pact, and stopped disabling the plant in mid-August. On Sep 19, it announced it had begun the work to restore its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon.

After US nuclear envoy Christopher Hill’s three-day visit to Pyongyang in early October, the Bush administration announced that it dropped North Korea from the terrorism black list Saturday.

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