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NK Admits US Delegation’s Access To Yongbyon

Posted January. 02, 2004 23:02,   


USA Today reported on January 2 that North Korea has decided to admit the U.S. delegation that is scheduled to enter the nuclear facility in Yongbyon next week.

If the U.S. delegates’ visit to Yongbyon is a success, it will be the first time that a foreign inspection team has visited the North Korean nuclear facilities since North Korea kicked off the IAEA’s nuclear surveillance team on December 31, 2002. This visit has not been opened up in advance.

The Bush administration blocked congress’ visit to North Korea back in October 2003. But this time, the administration authorized it, USA Today reported.

The delegation is comprised of Dr. Sig Hecker, a nuclear expert, a China expert from Stanford University, two Senate foreign policy aides, and a former State ministry official who has previously negotiated with North Korea. According to a South Korean official, “I’ve heard that the delegation is made up of the experts from the U.S. Congress.”

USA Today passed on the remarks of Dr. Hecker from the U.S. delegation—that the delegation is being admitted to visit Yongbyon nuclear facilities in North Korea from January 6 to 10.

USA Today assessed that as the Bush administration addressed the 60,000 ton-food supply plan to North Korea just before Christmas last year, and has authorized a visit once again, it would become easier to resume talks on the North Korean nuclear problem.

But, in order to occupy a favorable spot on the talks, North Korea may have invited Dr. Hecker—who was formerly in charge of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1985 to 1997—to Yongbyon to prove its possession of nuclear bombs as positive, USA Today assumed.

On the other hand, Sankei Shimbun of Japan reported in a Washington dispatch on January 1 that the U.S. government will get down to cope with the situation strongly enough such as laying the North Korea nuclear problem before the United Nations Security Council and invoking the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) against North Korea—that is if North Korea does not follow through with any measures to solve the problem until March, such as addressing its decision to dismantle nuclear-related facilities.

As though the U.S.’s confrontation against the North Korea nuclear problem does not seem to reach the level to martial its forces to implement military operation against North Korea, U.S. has set up a timeline to sort out this problem. USA Today reported that this measure has a high probability of affecting the upcoming Six-nations talk.

John Bolton, the deputy state secretary of the U.S., has firmly disclosed the U.S.’s decision at an informal meeting held in Washington recently.

Young-Sik Kim Jung-Ahn Kim spear@donga.com credo@donga.com