North Korea to declare and disable nuclear programs

03 September 2007

North Korea has agreed to make a full declaration of its nuclear programs and to disable them by the end of 2007, according to US negotiators. The announcement followed two-day bilateral talks in Geneva between North Korea and the USA.

The USA's chief negotiator, assistant secretary of state Christopher Hill, said that the talks had been "very good and very substantive." He said, "One thing that we agreed on is that the DPRK will provide a full declaration of all their nuclear programs and will disable their nuclear programs by the end of this year, 2007."

Hill said the declaration will also include uranium enrichment programs, which the USA suspects that North Korea has been conducting in addition to things it has already admitted to. He said, "When we say all nuclear programs, we mean all." Hill said that the timetable would permit full implementation by the end of 2008 of the more extensive six-party September 2005 accord to "denuclearize" the Korean peninsula. He added that although the details had yet to be worked out, both the USA and North Korea has agreed that the timescale was "realistic."

Hill said that the new agreement would help improve chances of a successful meeting in mid-September with Japan, Russia, South Korea and China in six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program and improving the country's relations with other countries.

Kim Gye Gwan, North Korea's chief negotiator, said: "We agreed a lot of things between the United States and the DPRK. We are happy with the way the peace talks went." He added, "We made it clear, we showed willingness to declare and dismantle all nuclear facilities." However, he did not give a timetable for such a move.

Under the deal, North Korea will receive oil and other financial aid. In addition, the USA may remove North Korea from its list of states said to sponsor terrorism. Kim said, "In return for this we will receive political and economic compensation. We wouldn't be an enemy country anymore."

In July, North Korea shut down its Yongbyon reactor in exchange for 50,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil from South Korea. The shutdown was negotiated in February by the Six Parties - China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the USA - and meant to be carried out in April. However, 'give and take' process faced problems and uncertainty for weeks before $25 million belonging to North Korea could be released by a Macau bank. The money had been frozen by US Treasury officials as part of an unrelated investigation.

A factor which remains to be resolved is the potential resumption of the Korean Economic Development Organisation (Kedo) project to build two light-water reactors in North Korea. The project was stalled after plutonium production was discovered in the country, but North Korea is known to be keen to complete it.

Further information

WNA's Iran, North Korea & Iraq - Implications for Safeguards information paper
WNA's
 Nuclear Power in Korea information paper

WNN:
 North Korea shuts more nuclear facilities
WNN: North Korea's Yongbyon reactor shut down
WNN: IAEA and North Korea reach "understanding"

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