The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Friday said it will suspend the operation of its nuclear facilities as soon as the aid it has been promised arrived.
"The DPRK is now earnestly examining even the issue of suspending the operation of its nuclear facilities earlier than expected, that is from the moment the first shipment of heavy oil equivalent to one-tenth of the total quantity is made," the official Korean Central News Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.
This is the first time that the DPRK has officially announced when it will shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities.
But it warned that it will have to resume the activity of nuclear facilities if the promised economic and political payoffs are not be fulfilled.
"The DPRK may not trust them if steps are not taken to make political and economic compensation as promised, even after it has taken to suspend the operation of its nuclear facilities," said the spokesman.
"In that case, the resumption of its nuclear activity will assume legitimate nature," he added.
The DPRK urged the other countries involved in the six-party talks on its nuclear program - China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States - to deliver the aid they had promised.
"Other participating countries are also obliged to hasten the preparations for honoring their commitments including energy aid amounting to 950,000 tons of heavy oil, the remaining quantity to be provided," said the spokesman, referring to a deal signed at the six-party talks in February.
"The agreement should be honored not only by the DPRK but by all the countries participating in the six-party talks on the principle action for action," he added.
South Korea confirmed Thursday it will start sending the first shipment of heavy fuel oil to DPRK next Thursday in accordance with the February13 agreement designed to solve the nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula.
In the February agreement, Pyongyang pledged to shut down the Yongbyon reactor within 60 days in exchange for 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid.
However, the denuclearization process was held up when the DPRK insisted that its US$25 million in fund frozen by the United States at the Banco Delta Asia in Macao be returned first.
On Monday the DPRK said its demand had been met and it was ready to honor its commitment.
(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2007)