The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog today voiced concern over the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), where inspectors have not been allowed access since April 2009.
“The nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains a matter of serious concern,” Yukiya Amano told the General Assembly, as he presented his first report as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The Agency’s inspectors were ordered out of the country in April 2009 after the Security Council condemned a DPRK rocket launch that month, deeming it to be in contravention of resolution 1718, which demanded that the country “not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile,” following its claims to have conducted a nuclear test in October 2006.
In addition, the country has not permitted the IAEA to implement safeguards there since December 2002 and it has not implemented the measures called for in Council resolutions 1718 and 1874. The latter imposed a series of measures on the country, including tougher inspections of cargo suspected of containing banned items and a tighter arms embargo.
Mr. Amano called on all parties concerned to make concerted efforts towards resumption of the Six-Party Talks “at an appropriate time.”
The Talks, which seek to resolve the crisis over the country’s nuclear programme, involve China, DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.
On Iran, the Director General noted that the IAEA continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material.
“But Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” he added.
The cooperation needed includes full implementation of relevant resolutions of the Council and the IAEA Board of Governors, he added.
In September Mr. Amano voiced regret over Iran’s decision to bar two key nuclear inspectors, saying the move hinders the Agency’s investigation into the country’s nuclear programme.
Iran’s nuclear programme – which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions – has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The Council has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Iran since 2006, the most recent being in June, citing the proliferation risks posed by its nuclear programme and its continued failure to cooperate with the IAEA.