North Korea has confirmed that it is preparing to shut down its
nuclear facilities, an Australian diplomat said in Beijing
North Korea also reiterated its intention to allow inspectors
from the IAEA to verify that action, Peter Baxter, first assistant
secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade, told reporters at the Australian embassy.
Baxter led a delegation on a four-day visit to North Korea where
he discussed the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula with North
"The North Korean government reaffirmed its commitment to
implementing the agreement they made under the six-party talks,"
The six parties, involving China, the US, Russia, Japan, North
and South Korea, clinched a deal on February 13 in which Pyongyang
committed to abandon its nuclear facilities in exchange for
economic and energy aid.
North Korea agreed to shut down and seal its Yongbyon nuclear
complex and allow IAEA inspectors into the country within 60 days,
during which the other five parties would provide it with energy
equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil.
North Korea made it clear that as long as the other five parties
fulfill their obligations, it would meet the deadline by mid-April
and seal its Yongbyon facilities and have that verified, Baxter
He said Australia was ready to support North Korea with energy
aid and development assistance only if Pyongyang honors its
commitment to dismantling its nuclear facilities.
Baxter's visit to North Korea coincided with IAEA chief Mohamed
ElBaradei's two-day trip to the country. Baxter said he had a brief
discussion with ElBaradei in Pyongyang.
"The purpose of his (ElBaradei) visit is to discuss the precise
time frame in which North Korea would actually complete the process
of shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear facilities and allowing
inspectors," Baxter said.
He said North Korea did not confirm whether it had a uranium
enrichment program, but it intends to make a comprehensive
declaration that covers all of nuclear facilities and programs.
(Xinhua News Agency March 16, 2007)