North Korea is giving its complete cooperation to nuclear
inspectors monitoring a shutdown of its key atomic complex, the UN
team said yesterday.
The staff of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
arrived in North Korea on July 14 to monitor the Yongbyon nuclear
complex, which the North closed as part of a disarmament pact
reached in six country talks in February.
"We had complete cooperation from North Korean authorities," the
head of the IAEA group, Adel Tolba, told reporters at Beijing
airport after arriving from Pyongyang, the capital.
He said the team had completed the first stage of its mission
and was heading back to Vienna for an evaluation.
The returning nuclear monitors are part of a "tag-team" who will
watch over Yongbyon while six-party talks seek agreement on
advancing the initial disarmament steps. A replacement team of IAEA
monitors arrived in the North over the weekend.
A reactor and uranium fuel processing plant at Yongbyon can
produce the plutonium that North Korea used in its first nuclear
test-blast in October last year.
The next step of the disarmament deal among the two Koreas,
China, Japan, Russia and the United States calls on Pyongyang to
"disable" its nuclear facilities and provide a full accounting of
its nuclear weapons programs.
(China Daily via agencies August 1, 2007)