North Korea Sets Terms For Nuclear Agreement
Mon Sep 19, 2005 8:12 PM ET
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons until the United States gives it civilian atomic reactors, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday in a statement that significantly undermined a deal reached on Monday.
Six countries including the North and the United States had agreed on Monday to a set of principles on dismantling the North's nuclear programs in return for aid and recognizing
Pyongyang's right to a civilian nuclear program.
But skeptics had said the deal was long on words and short on action; the North's comments made clear just how short.
"The U.S. should not even dream of the issue of the DPRK's dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent before providing LWRs, a physical guarantee for confidence-building," said the North Korean statement, published by the official KCNA news agency.
DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. LWRs are light-water reactors, which experts regard as more proliferation-resistant than earlier nuclear plants.
The statement, issued by an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Pyongyang would not need a single nuclear weapon if relations with Washington were normalized.
"What is most essential is, therefore, for the U.S. to provide LWRs to the DPRK as early as possible as evidence proving the former's substantial recognition of the latter's nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose," it said.
N Korea sets disarmament terms Tuesday 20 September 2005 1:06 AM GMT
North Korea says that it would not dismantle its nuclear weapons programme until the US provides it with a light-water reactor for generating electricity.
"The US should not even dream of the issue of the DPRK's dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent before providing LWRs (light-water reactors), a physical guarantee for confidence-building," a foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday, one day after agreeing to disarm in return for pledges of aid and security.
"This is our just and consistent stand as solid as a deeply rooted rock," he said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. The statement followed the biggest breakthrough in two years of six-party negotiations on denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
In talks in Beijing, North Korea agreed on Monday to abandon its nuclear arms programme in return for aid and security pledges.
A joint statement issued by the six nations - North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia - said the other five countries would respect Pyongyang's demand for a light-water reactor and discuss it at a later date.
But the foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday that North Korea, a self-avowed nuclear power, would only disarm and return to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) when the US provides it with a light-water reactor. "As clarified in the joint statement, we will return to the NPT and sign the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA and comply with it immediately upon the US provision of LWRs, a basis of confidence-building, to us," he said in the statement.
"As already clarified more than once, we will feel no need to keep even a single nuclear weapon if the DPRK (North Korea)-US relations are normalised, bilateral confidence is built and we are not exposed to the US nuclear threat any longer." "What is most essential is, therefore, for the US to provide LWRs to the DPRK as early as possible as evidence proving the former's substantial recognition of the latter's nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose."
A US official said late on Monday the North Korean demand was not in line with the deal signed in Beijing.
"This was obviously not the agreement they signed and we will see what the coming weeks bring," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
US officials declined to comment more broadly on Pyongyang's declarations, which appeared to undermine a much-feted set of principles agreed upon earlier in Beijing.
"It could just be a lot of bluster, we don't know," said an official.
Japan called Pyongyang's demand that it be given light-water nuclear reactors "unacceptable".
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