The Republic of Korea (ROK) today appealed to its northern neighbour to resume decommissioning its nuclear weapons programme a day after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said it would restart nuclear activities and ended the United Nations atomic watchdog agency’s access to its facilities.
“We urge the DPRK to resume disablement measures immediately so that the positive momentum generated by the Six-Party talks can be maintained and the denuclearization process can move forward,” Prime Minister Han Seung-soo told the General Assembly, referring to the diplomatic process that had led to earlier progress on the issue.
Last year the six parties – China, DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States – reached agreement on the DPRK’s denuclearization in return for economic aid but the agreement has since bogged down on measures for implementation.
Yesterday the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the DPRK had said it would begin introducing nuclear material to the Yongbyon reprocessing plant within a week and asked the agency to remove seals and surveillance from the site, where a cooling tower had earlier been blown up as part of the decommissioning agreement.
“The Republic of Korea is making every effort to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue within the framework of the Six-Party talks,” Mr. Han said, adding that his Government was willing to discuss with the DPRK how to implement properly all past inter-Korean agreements.