More oil heads to N. Korea after reactor shut

South Korea sent a second shipment of heavy fuel oil to the North on Monday under a nuclear disarmament deal after Pyongyang appeared to have halted its nuclear reactor and source of arms-grade plutonium.

More oil heads to N. Korea after reactor shut
South Korea sent a second shipment of heavy fuel oil to the North on Monday under a nuclear disarmament deal after Pyongyang appeared to have halted its nuclear reactor and source of arms-grade plutonium.

North Korea said over the weekend it had shut its Soviet-era Yongbyon nuclear reactor around the time it received the first shipment of oil on Saturday. UN nuclear inspectors are in the North to verify the closure and set up monitoring equipment.

“The second shipment of heavy oil left for North Korea today,” South Korean Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung told chief US nuclear envoy Christopher Hill on Monday.

A Unification Ministry official said a tanker carrying 7,500 tonnes of oil left Ulsan in the South for the North Korean port of Nampo.

A provision of 50,000 tonnes of oil from the South is part of a Feb. 13 deal reached by North and South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China on first suspending the operation of the North’s nuclear facilities and then disabling them.

The impoverished North will receive an additional 950,000 tonnes of oil, security assurances and be better able to conduct international trade if it completely scraps its nuclear arms programme — considered one of Asia’s biggest security threats.

“With complete denuclearisation, everything is going to be possible,” Hill said.

Hill, in Seoul prior to heading to Beijing, called on the North to disable Yongbyon and provide a complete inventory of its atomic arms programme.

Hill said he hoped International Atomic Energy Agency personnel will soon issue a report on their initial findings at Yongbyon.

“I certainly have to anticipate that there will be problems in the future because I never thought it would take until July to get this first step done,” Hill told reporters.

The six-way talks are set to resume on Wednesday in Beijing to map out the next phase of ending Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Temmuz 2007, 11:34
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