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Tensions easing says Kim Jong-il

July 04,2007
North Korea’s reclusive strongman Kim Jong-il told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi yesterday he believes the Korean Peninsula’s tense atmosphere is showing signs of easing, China’s state-run media reported.
Kim also said all sides should implement the Feb. 13 agreement to denuclearize the peninsula, Xinhua News agency said.
Government officials here have said that Yang’s visit would help gauge Pyongyang’s thinking on the implementation of a pledge to denuclearize.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang has demonstrated its willingness to provide Unted Nations nuclear agency inspectors with the information and access needed to verify a shutdown of the North’s nuclear facilities, the Associated Press reported yesterday, citing a four-page report obtained from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Summing up a visit by a delegation led by deputy director general Olli Heinonen to the North last week, the UN’s nuclear watchdog said in the report that Pyongyang had agreed to provide the agency with a list of nuclear facilities for shutdown and sealing purposes while agreeing to give inspectors access to such facilities. The report also states that inspectors would be allowed to install surveillance equipment and apply other verification methods needed.
Under a February deal, Pyongyang has committed itself to shut down the Yongbyon nuclear reactor and related facilities in return for 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil. Upon completion of this phase, the North has to declare and disable all of its nuclear programs in exchange for an additional 950,000 tons of heavy fuel oil and security assurances, but no timeframe has been set for this phase.
A government official predicted yesterday that if initial denuclearization measures went according to schedule, a resumption of the six-party talks could come as early as the third week of this month.


By Brian Lee Staff Writer/ Chang Se-jeong JoongAng Ilbo [africanu@joongang.co.kr]



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