North Korea Stalling on Nuke Deal

Nation refuses to remove nuke cooling tower before enjoying benefits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2007 4:15 AM CST
North Korea Stalling on Nuke Deal
South Korean president-elect Lee Myung-bak, third from left, speaks during a disbanding ceremony for the Grand National Party(GNP) election committee at the GNP headquarters in Seoul, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007. Lee urged North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program and improve its human rights...   (Associated Press)

North Korea is balking at US demands that it demolish a cooling tower at its main nuclear complex and get rid of unused fuel, the AP reports. Officials insist they want the benefits from the next stage of the disarmament deal first. The US warns that North Korea could restart its reactor in just three months if it doesn't get rid of the tower and fuel.

North Korea had agreed to disable nuclear facilities in a deal struck earlier this year, but the cooling tower and fuel weren't specifically mentioned in the agreement. The US agreed to drop sanctions against North Korea and drop it from terrorism blacklists in return for the disablement measures, but the country now looks certain to miss the year-end deadline. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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