Posted April. 17, 2007 08:05,
North Korea may have started to shutdown its 5 MW reactor and fuel reprocessing facility in Yongbyon in North Pyongan province, according to information the U.S. obtained on April 16.
A leading diplomatic source said, The U.S. took satellite images which captured unusual movements of people and vehicles around the cooling tower and parking lot in the Yongbyon nuclear facility. Washington thinks it is highly likely that those activities are a part of N. Koreas operations to close down the nuclear facility.
The U.S. sent this information to South Korea. Seoul also concluded that those movements are related to shutting down the nuclear facility after a careful analysis.
Song Min-soon, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was invited to a forum organized by the Gwanhun Club on April 13 and said, I think North Korea has the strong will to implement the February 13 agreement. His remark is said to be based on intelligence reports on N. Koreas activities in Yongbyon.
Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, traveled to North Korea last week. He met a news reporter from ABC on April 15 (local time) and said, On April 12, my last day in North Korea, North Korea promised they would close down the nuclear reactor and freeze its reprocessing facilities under IAEA surveillance. I believe that they will start the process within this week.
North Korea, however, has not yet invited IAEA investigators as of April 16, missing the deadline of April 14 as stated in the February 13 agreement.
Victor Cha is the director for Asian Affairs in the White House`s National Security Council and President George Bushs top advisor on North Korean affairs. He joined the U.S. delegation to North Korea headed by Governor Richardson. The AP reported, quoting an American official, that Cha sent a strong message from President Bush to North Koreas Kim Kye Kwan, vice minister of Foreign Affairs.
The American official told the AP that the top advisor individually met Kim and stressed the urgent need for Pyongyang to keep its February 13 agreement.
An AP reporter who accompanied the U.S. delegation said North Korea clearly scheduled a separate meeting between Cha and Kim. Kim also emphasized the importance of the fact that a Washington advisor was included in the delegation.