North Korea ready to abide by deal
Says it will start steps to shut nuclear reactor within a day after receiving blocked millions
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.