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U.S. Stops November Shipment of Fuel Oil to N.K.

Posted November. 10, 2002 22:43,   


Korea, the US and Japan decided to stop a ship carrying heavy oil for November, which is now heading to the North, from entering the North Korean territorial waters until the executive board meeting of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) slated for November 14 decides on whether stop the shipment or not. The ship, which departed from a port in Singapore on November 6, is now on sail with the schedule of arriving at Weonsan Port in North Korea on the 17th or 18th, carrying 42,500 tons of heavy oil. An official with the government said, "If the ship’s arrival in North Korea is delayed, the ship will stay in the high seas for a while."

The three countries held a Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) meeting to discuss the North’s nuclear issue, but they failed to narrow their differences over whether to stop the provision of fuel oil to the North.

The US administration is said to have informed South Korea and Japan of its position that in retaliation for the North’s nuclear development program, they should immediately suspend the oil aid project, in which as much as 500,000 tons of heavy oil is delivered to Pyongyang on a yearly basis. In response, the two nations suggested that the immediate suspension is not desirable, so the shipment for November should be delivered as scheduled.

The three nations decided to continue discussion over whether the ship for November shipment of fuel oil should turn around to return home at talks of the Community of democracies (CD) slated for November 10-12, and during this period a foreign ministers’ meeting between South Korea and Japan and a US-South Korean assistant secretary-level meeting will be held on sidelines.

After finishing the TCOG meeting, the three nations adopted a joint statement, in which they stressed, "The North can benefit from its expansion of participation in the international community but it should first abandon its nuclear development program in a rapid and verifiable manner."

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com