Sunday, June 17, 2007

North Korea: Atomic inspectors can return

North Korea has invited inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog back into the country to monitor the shut down of its main nuclear reactor, state media reports. A letter inviting a "working level" delegation to visit and monitor the suspension of the operations of nuclear facilities was sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency, North's Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday.

Earlier Saturday, frozen North Korean funds that were thawed as part of a February agreement to get Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program were transferred out of a bank in Macau, China, to a Russian bank, where North Korea has an account. The funding, $25 million, was frozen at the bank in late 2005 at the request of the United States, which claimed some of the funding came from illegal activities.

North Korea had been expected to announce its steps in implementing the six-party agreement upon confirmation of the money transfer. Under the agreement, North Korea will shut down its Yongbyon reactor and allow the IAEA back into the country to monitor the process.

In exchange for North Korea's denuclearization, United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia have pledged to provide the reclusive Communist nation with political and economic incentives and security guarantees.


No comments: