The United Nations nuclear watchdog today called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to completely dismantle any nuclear weapons programme, promptly accept comprehensive international safeguards, and allow UN inspectors back in.
In a resolution adopted by acclamation in Vienna, the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on the DPRK, which withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in December last year when IAEA inspectors were forced to pull out, to cooperate with the agency in the full implementation of safeguards.
The DPRK was reported earlier this year to have said it would develop nuclear weapons and might carry out tests.
"States urged the DPRK to completely dismantle any nuclear weapons programme in a prompt, transparent, verifiable and irreversible manner, maintaining the essential verification role of the IAEA," the agency said in a news release.
"They stressed the desire for a peaceful resolution through dialogue to the DPRK nuclear issue that would lead to a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula, and contribute positively to regional and global peace and security," it added.
The States particularly welcomed six-party talks held in Beijing in August 2003 on the Korean nuclear issue between China, Japan, DPRK, Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and the United States. The talks, and the consensus that emerged from them, are "a clear step in the right direction," the resolution said.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan earlier this month warned that a ban on nuclear testing was more vital than ever given the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula, and he singled out the DPRK by name in calling on 12 key nations whose ratification is essential for the treaty ban to enter into force to do so forthwith.