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Russia Ready To Consider Dismantling North Korea Reactors

The main main nuclear complex at Yongbyon.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (RIA Novosti) Jul 19, 2007
Russia is ready to discuss assisting in deactivating North Korea's nuclear facilities, a Russian envoy said Wednesday at six-party talks in China, aimed at pressing the Communist state to take further denuclearization measures. "Russian specialists are ready to discuss issues concerning the closing down of nuclear facilities in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," said Vladimir Rakhmanin, special envoy who leads the Russian delegation at the two-day talks involving six nations involved in the long-running dispute on North Korea's nuclear program.

Talks resumed as the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed earlier Wednesday that North Korea had closed all the facilities at its main nuclear complex at Yongbyon, 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of the capital Pyongyang, in addition to the only operating reactor, which was a source of weapons-grade plutonium, AP and Reuters reported.

"We have verified that all five nuclear facilities have been shut down," Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters.

The move brings an end to the first phase of the disarmament deal the two Koreas, China, Japan, the United States, and Russia agreed February 13, when Pyongyang was promised economic and diplomatic incentives in exchange for disabling its nuclear facilities.

Pyongyang has begun receiving 50,000 metric tons of oil from South Korea for its thermal power plants as an incentive for the reactor shutdown, and is to eventually receive a total of 1 million metric tons from China, Russia and the U.S.

North Korea now expects Washington to strike it off the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, and to drop its "hostile" policies toward Pyongyang, and for Japan to improve ties with the regime, which it accuses of kidnapping its nationals in the 1970s-1980s.

Delays in the implementation of the February 13 commitments were caused by a dispute with Washington over North Korea's frozen $25 million in a Macao bank, which finally reached Pyongyang in late June.

Pyongyang expelled IAEA inspectors, withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2002, and conducted its first nuclear bomb tests last October.

Source: RIA Novosti

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North Korea Willing To Disable All Nuke Programs
Beijing (AFP) Jul 19, 2007
North Korea is willing to disable all its nuclear facilities this year, a top negotiator said Wednesday, just hours after UN experts confirmed that Pyongyang had shut down its main reactor complex. The developments raised hopes that an international deal to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programmes in exchange for aid was bearing fruit after years of on-again, off-again talks.

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