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North Korean nuclear deal doesn't even last a day?

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2005-09-20T012231Z_01_YUE579659_RTRUKOC_0_US-KOREA-NORTH.xml N.Korea statement puts nuclear
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 19, 2005
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      N.Korea statement puts nuclear deal in jeopardy
      Mon Sep 19, 2005 9:22 PM ET15

      SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea will not give up its
      nuclear weapons until the United States provides
      civilian atomic reactors, Pyongyang said on Tuesday in
      a statement that significantly undermined a deal
      reached just a day earlier.

      Six countries, including the North and the United
      States, had agreed on Monday to a set of principles on
      dismantling the Pyongyang's nuclear programs in return
      for aid and recognizing its right to a civilian
      nuclear program.

      Skeptics had said the deal was long on words, vague on
      timing and sequencing and short on action: the North's
      comments made clear just how short.

      "The U.S. should not even dream of the issue of the
      DPRK's dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent before
      providing LWRs," said the North Korean Foreign
      Ministry statement, which was published by the
      official KCNA news agency.

      DPRK is short for the North's official name, the
      Democratic People's Republic of Korea. LWRs are
      light-water reactors, which experts say are more
      proliferation-resistant than other reactors.

      In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokesman said
      he could not immediately comment on the North Korean

      South Korea's financial markets did not react sharply
      to the North's statement.

      The statement said Pyongyang would not need a single
      nuclear weapon if relations with Washington were
      normalized. The North said in February it had nuclear

      "What is most essential is, therefore, for the U.S. to
      provide LWRs to the DPRK as early as possible as
      evidence proving the former's substantial recognition
      of the latter's nuclear activity for a peaceful
      purpose," it said.

      South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and
      China -- the other players in the six-party talks --
      expressed a willingness in Monday's agreement to
      provide oil, energy aid and security guarantees in
      return for the North ditching its nuclear weapons
      programs. The timing was left vague.


      Washington and Tokyo agreed to normalize ties with the
      impoverished and diplomatically isolated North, which
      pledged to rejoin the nuclear Non-Proliferation
      Treaty. Again, Tuesday's statement said that would
      happen only after it got the reactors.

      Official reaction before the North's statement was
      cautiously upbeat, though analysts were skeptical and
      U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice predicted

      Washington has been skeptical of any accord with
      Pyongyang since accusing the communist state of
      cheating on a deal to freeze its nuclear programs in
      the 1990s.

      "The joint statement is the most important achievement
      in the two years since the start of six-party talks,"
      said Chinese chief negotiator Wu Dawei. The seven-day
      session in Beijing ended with a standing ovation by
      all delegates.

      At the talks, Washington had eased its staunch
      opposition to any nuclear reactor for North Korea, and
      indicated it was willing to consider a light-water
      reactor to produce electricity under certain stringent

      The U.S. State Department said the offer of nuclear
      energy hinged on Pyongyang dismantling all its nuclear

      "It's a theoretical proposition in the future,
      contingent on dismantlement having taken place, (North
      Korea) re-signing up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation
      Treaty and having IAEA safeguards in place," deputy
      spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters, referring to the
      International Atomic Energy Agency.

      Pyongyang's statement made clear the North sees the
      timing precisely the other way around.

      The United States, backed by Japan, had argued North
      Korea could not be trusted with atomic energy, but
      China, South Korea and Russia said if Pyongyang
      scrapped its nuclear weapons and agreed to strict
      safeguards, it should have such an energy program in

      Failure to reach a deal in Beijing could have prompted
      Washington to go to the U.N. Security Council and seek
      sanctions. North Korea had said sanctions would be
      tantamount to war.

      (Additional reporting by Jack Kim in Beijing and by
      Reuters correspondents in Washington, Beijing and at
      the United Nations)
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