Tuesday, April 14, 2009

North Korea Expelling Nuclear Inspectors

from Sky News
Tuesday April 14, 2009

North Korea is expelling the UN's nuclear inspectors and has vowed to reactivate its nuclear reactor, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said

Pyongyang told the monitors to remove seals and cameras from the Yongbyon site, which makes bomb-grade plutonium, and leave the country as quickly as possible.

It also said it was ceasing all cooperation with the energy agency, which is the UN's nuclear watchdog.

North Korea's move came after it declared it would leave six-party talks on scrapping its nuclear programme.

The communist state has faced heavy criticism after recently launching a long-range rocket which some believe was a disguised ballistic missile test.

Pyongyang said the rocket was carrying a satellite and the mission was peaceful.

After news of the expulsions, the United States called on North Korea to "cease its provocative threats" and respect the will of the international community by honouring its international commitments.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Pyongyang's vow to restart its nuclear reactor and boycott international disarmament talks is a serious step in the wrong direction.

Britain's Foreign Office said North Korea's decision to cease co-operation with the watchdog was "completely unjustified".

It urged the country not to pull out of the so-called six-party talks with the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

On Monday, the UN Security Council unanimously condemned the rocket firing on April 5. It said it contravened a UN ban and demanded enforcement of existing sanctions against the country.

UN nuclear watchdog spokesman, Marc Vidricaire, said the small inspection team had been ordered out of the country "at the earliest possible time".

He said: "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has today informed IAEA inspectors in the Yongbyon facility that it is immediately ceasing all cooperation with the IAEA.

"It has requested the removal of all containment and surveillance equipment, following which IAEA inspectors will no longer be provided access to the facility."

He added: "The (North) also informed the IAEA that it has decided to reactivate all facilities and go ahead with the reprocessing of spent fuel."
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