Tuesday, July 17, 2007

IAEA Confirms N. Korean Reactor Shut Down

SEOUL, South Korea, July 16 — Inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency have confirmed that North Korea has shut down its weapons-making nuclear reactor, the agency said today.

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Now comes the hard part, both officials and experts said, as six-nation talks are set to resume in Beijing on Wednesday.

The talks will aim to persuade North Korea to start disabling the reactor, and to declare all of its other nuclear materials and facilities, which it has agreed to do in return for one million tons of heavy fuel oil and other economic and diplomatic incentives.

“I certainly have to anticipate there will be problems because I never expected it would take until July to get this first step done,” said the United States nuclear envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, referring to North Korea’s original agreement to turn off the reactor by mid-April.

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North Korea sticks to an “action-for-action” guideline; it seeks United States concessions for each incremental step it takes toward what Washington hopes will one day be an irreversible dismantling of all of North Korea’s nuclear facilities.

The United States and its allies have adopted the same strategy on Pyongyang. They promised to hand out oil shipments and meet a long list of North Korean demands, such as normal ties with the United States, but they said they would time those incentives to coincide with North Korean steps toward complete denuclearization.

source: NY Times


While this isn't a perfect solution so far it is proceeding about as well as I expected.

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