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A half-step warning to North from IAEA

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Jan 07,2003
In an escalation of pressure that still leaves maneuvering room for North Korea, the International Atomic Energy Agency was expected last night to press its demand that Pyeongyang contain its nuclear facilities and clarify the status of a reported uranium-enrichment program. As the governing board of the United Nations nuclear agency prepared to meet in Vienna to consider its second resolution on North Korea in two months, Seoul was continuing to dispatch senior envoys to rally international support behind efforts to mold a solution to the renewed nuclear tension on the Korean peninsula. The top Blue House national-security aide, Yim Sung-joon, is headed for Washington for consultations with senior U.S. administration officials and lawmakers. His mission is to draw "the big picture," based on President Kim Dae-jung's policy plan, Mr. Yim said -- not necessarily to formulate detailed action plans to pressure the North. Seoul said the IAEA board was expected to "deplore in the strongest terms" the North's disabling surveillance tools at its nuclear facilities and expelling IAEA inspectors. The board was to meet just before midnight, Korea time. While the resolution was expected to be a stronger call for verification of the North's nuclear activities, there appeared little expectation here that Pyeongyang would respond positively. The agency's director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, will relay the North's response to the board, but the agency will give Pyeongyang the time and opportunity to take a positive step, officials here said. The possibility of the agency eventually referring the matter to the UN Security Council was not entirely ruled out yesterday by Seoul, but "It is not likely going to happen this month," an official said. Rather than "condemning" the North's action, for example, the statement was seen as likely merely to "deplore" it, perhaps "to save the stronger word for later," an official here said. Similarly, the governors were not expected to state outright that North Korea is in clear violation of the agreement, which under the agency's statute would likely trigger the United Nations to take over the issue. Senior diplomats from Seoul, Tokyo and Washington were to meet in the U.S. capital both bilaterally and multilaterally to discuss strategies on the North. Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hang-kyun returned home from consultations in Moscow
by Kim Young-sae
January 07, 2003




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