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N Korea Blows Up Reactor Cooling Tower

From the Agence France-Pressee:

NKorea blows up nuke plant tower

SEOUL, June 27, 2008 (AFP) – North Korea on Friday blew up the cooling tower of its atomic reactor in a dramatic symbol of its commitment to nuclear disarmament, one day after handing over details of atomic programmes…

The cooling tower at Yongbyon, 96 kilometres (60 miles) north of Pyongyang, was the most visible symbol of the communist state’s decades-old pursuit of nuclear weapons.

It produced the plutonium for a programme which culminated in a nuclear test in October 2006.

The demolition was of symbolic value only since Yongbyon has already been largely disabled under a six party disarmament pact.

But it came a day after the North handed over a long-awaited declaration of its nuclear activities, a move expected to end the stalemate in the six-party negotiations on disarming the poor and isolated state.

US President George W. Bush announced he was partially lifting some Trading With The Enemy Act sanctions in response to the declaration.

He also notified Congress he was removing North Korea from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, effective after a 45-day review period…

A battery of other sanctions against the North remain in force.

The delisting can also be put on hold if the North fails to meet US demands that it allow its declaration — especially the size of the plutonium stockpile — to be rigorously verified.

The declaration delivered to six-party talks host China was said to give details of nuclear facilities and of Yongbyon’s production over the past two decades of plutonium for bomb-making.

It does not disclose any information on nuclear weapons, an issue to be tackled in the next phase of the six-party deal…

The North is getting one million tons of fuel oil or equivalent energy aid, plus the terrorism delisting, in return for disabling Yongbyon and delivering the declaration.

The six parties — North and South Korea, Japan, Russia, China and the United States — are expected to meet in Beijing early next month.

They will discuss ways to verify the document, complete the disablement and prepare for the final phase: the dismantlement of plants and handover of all nuclear material including weapons.

Those millions of tons of fuel oil might be pretty pricey these days.

But nuclear blackmail seems to pay well.

One wonders why Greenpeace has never tried to put a stop to the North Korea’s nuclear program. Or even Iran’s.

Just kidding. We don’t wonder about that at all.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, June 27th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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