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North Korean nuclear reactor
Photo: AFP
N. Korea wants reactors for nukes
Nuclear envoy demands his country be given power-generating reactors as a reward for eventually dismantling its own atomic programs
North Korea's nuclear envoy demanded Saturday that his country be given power-generating reactors as a reward for eventually dismantling its own atomic programs.

 

The demand presents a future hurdle at talks aimed at ridding Pyongyang of its ability to make nuclear bombs.

 

"In order to ultimately dismantle (the nuclear programs), light-water reactors should be given" to the North, Kim Kye Gwan told reporters
before leaving Beijing, referring to a type of nuclear reactor that cannot be easily used to make bombs.

 

Six-nation talks on the North's nuclear weapons programs ended Friday without setting any target date to disable Pyongyang's nuclear facilities — on the way to their eventual dismantlement — following the shutdown of its sole operating reactor a week ago.

 

The North had been promised two light-water reactors for power under a 1994 disarmament deal with the US But that agreement fell apart in 2002 when Washington accused Pyongyang of embarking on a secret uranium enrichment program, sparking the latest standoff.

 

'Japan is creating a crisis'

The US and the other countries in the arms talks — China, Japan, Russia and South Korea — have agreed to discuss providing the North with light-water reactors at an appropriate time. Washington has insisted that would only be after Pyongyang has rejoined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that it quit in early 2003.

 

The North's Kim still praised the outcome of latest arms talks, but said time had not been sufficient to set a new deadline for the next step in Pyongyang's disarmament process. Instead, working groups will meet by the end of August to discuss technical details of future disarmament.

 

"In order to set a deadline, we have to clearly define the obligations of each side and sequence corresponding actions," Kim said. "Time was not enough and preparations were not enough this time."

 

"The talks went well, the discussions went well and I think the outcome is good," he said, adding that the North pledged to "sincerely implement" previous agreements from the negotiations.

 

However, the longtime North Korean nuclear negotiator leveled harsh words at Japan, which has refused to contribute aid for disarmament to the communist nation until it addresses abductions of Japanese citizens — an issue Pyongyang has claimed it has already resolved.

 

"Japan is creating a crisis of infringing upon our national sovereignty," said Kim, who met with his Japanese counterpart Kenichiro Sasae in a one-on-one session amid the latest arms talks. "If Japan takes one more step further, I warned that will be a disaster."

 

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