Gulf News

North Korea ready to abide by deal

Says it will start steps to shut nuclear reactor within a day after receiving blocked millions

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North Korea says it will start moves to shut its nuclear reactor within a day of receiving millions of dollars blocked for 18 months in a Macau bank, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson told reporters yesterday.

But Richardson, speaking in Seoul after a trip to the North, said it would require an “extraordin­ary effort” to meet Saturday’s deadline under a February deal with regional powers to actually start decommissi­oning the reactor.

“The North Korean government told us that with that [bank] issue resolved, ... [it] would move prompt- ly, within a day, after receiving the funds,” said Richardson. “And therefore within that day, [North Korea will] invite the IAEA to Pyongyang and inspectors to draw up the terms for shutting down the Yongbyon reactor.”

The return of tional Atomic InternaEne­rgy Agency (IAEA) inspectors, expelled in 2002, is part of the February 13 deal to give the impoverish­ed state massive energy aid in return for ending its nuclear weapons programme.

But Richardson said it could be some 30 days before the reactor begins shutting down.

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