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SKorea to install sensors to monitor for NKorea nuke tests

SKorea to press for sampling at NKorea nuke plants
South Korea said Thursday that inspectors probing North Korea's nuclear history must be allowed to collect sample material, despite Pyongyang's rejection of the process. In the latest dispute to hit a six-nation disarmament deal, North Korea said Wednesday it had never agreed to let inspectors take samples from its atomic plants. The US State Department insisted that the North did consent to sampling. The dispute over ways to verify the North's declared nuclear programme is just the latest hurdle in tortuous negotiations, which began in 2003 and have often come close to breakdown. South Korea's Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan said Seoul had pointed out ambiguities surrounding verification methods in an agreement reached in early October between Washington and Pyongyang. "Washington itself admitted a lot of ambiguities exist," Yu told parliament. "We'll take our time to gauge the North's intentions. Through consultations with other countries, we will ensure that sampling is an essential part of verification," he said. Yu stressed that the North did not intend to leave the six-party process. Earlier in the day Yu described the North's sampling ban as disappointing. "The sampling issue is the core focus of the verification measure," he told local editors. "The US and North Korea held their recent talks on this understanding." Yu said South Korea's nuclear envoy Kim Sook and his US counterpart Christopher Hill held telephone talks earlier Thursday on Pyongyang's stance. "The US will have additional contacts with North Korea to ascertain its intentions," he said.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Nov 13, 2008
South Korea will install earthquake monitoring sensors capable of detecting an underground nuclear test near the border with North Korea this month, officials said Thursday.

The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said it has drilled 100 metre-deep holes (330 feet) for the equipment in three locations -- Ganghwa Island, west of Seoul, Yeoncheon, north of Seoul, and in the northeastern border area of Inje.

The agency said the main purpose was to detect quakes in North and South Korea. "They also can be used to monitor any North Korean nuclear tests," spokesman Lim Jang-Ho told AFP.

The agency said the sensors were being installed deep underground to avoid interference from surface noise.

It said they could also detect any attempts to dig cross-border invasion tunnels, like those the North dug during the Cold War.

Currently, South Korea has only one earthquake observation centre near Ulleung Island in the East Sea (Sea of Japan).

North Korea tested an atomic weapon in October 2006, sparking international alarm and United Nations sanctions.

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Pyongyang says it never agreed to nuclear sampling
Seoul (AFP) Nov 12, 2008
North Korea said Wednesday it had never agreed to let inspectors take samples from atomic plants as part of international attempts to check whether it is telling the truth about its nuclear activities.

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