Austria — A U.S.-Chinese split surfaced Thursday at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency over the issue of rewarding North Korea with an atomic reactor for scrapping its nuclear arms.
Any resolution approved by the 139-nation IAEA General Conference has only symbolic value because the meeting has no enforcing powers. But the dispute reflected the depth of disagreement between the two nations on how to proceed at a more important level - future talks among North Korea, China, the United States and three other nations meant to build on Pyongyang's commitment to mothball its nuclear weapons and return to the nonproliferation fold.
Confirming differences and outlining Washington's concerns, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United State was insisting that any resolution agreed on in Vienna would "not in any way try to change any understandings or what was agreed to at the six-party talks."
This month, delegates from North Korea, the United States, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan reached a landmark accord in which North Korea pledged to abandon all its nuclear programs in exchange for economic aid and security assurances.