The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) today cut off all further access for United Nations inspectors to its nuclear reprocessing plant inYongbyon, two weeks after it announced that it would resume work at the facility that it shut down last year in an international accord.
But UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors will remain in Yongbyon pending further information by the DPRK.
The DPRK informed the IAEA on 24 September that it would restart activities at Yongbyon, introduce nuclear material to it within a week, and that UN inspectors were being barred from the site.
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has today informed IAEA inspectors that effective immediately access to facilities at Yongbyon would no longer be permitted,” agency spokesman Marc Vidricaire said in a news release.
“The DPRK also has stated it has stopped its disablement work, which was initially agreed upon within the Six-Party Talks,” he added, referring to long-standing talks in Beijing between the DPRK, the Republic of Korea (ROK), China, Japan, Russia and the United States, in which agreement was reached on decommissioning the plant.
“Also, since it is preparing to restart the facilities at Yongbyon, the DPRK has informed the IAEA that our monitoring activities would no longer be appropriate,” he concluded.
In July, before the situation began to unravel, the agency verified that the plant had been taken off line, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the move as “a very important and encouraging step.”