Archive for Saturday, September 20, 2003

U.N. agency urges N. Korea to end nuclear program

September 20, 2003

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— The 137-nation U.N. nuclear watchdog agency urged North Korea on Friday to scrap its atomic weapons program and agree to the resumption of international scrutiny of its activities.

In a resolution adopted by consensus, the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency urged North Korea to "completely dismantle" its nuclear arms efforts. It also called on the communist regime to "accept comprehensive IAEA safeguards and cooperate with the agency in their full and effective implementation."

North Korea severed its ties with the agency last year and the conference has no way to enforce the resolution.

Still, the consensus document reflected international concern regarding North Korea's declared intention to build nuclear weapons.

The crisis began in October, when U.S. officials said North Korea admitted having a nuclear weapons program in violation of a 1994 agreement. The IAEA then declared North Korea in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in February.

The United States and its allies suspended oil shipments to the isolated communist country. North Korea in turn expelled IAEA inspectors, disabled the agency's monitoring cameras, withdrew from the global nuclear arms-control treaty and said it would reactivate its main nuclear complex, frozen since 1994.

China is trying to arrange a new round of negotiations after last month's meeting ended without an agreement on how to ease tensions.

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