UN experts will begin overseeing the shutdown of North Korea’s nuclear reactor after Pyongyang reached an agreement with international community. Chief UN inspector Olli Heinonen said: “First of all they are the ones who shut it down and not us. So they have to make their own plans. How long it will take depends a little on them. So these are the details we are going to discus now when we go there.”
North Korea agreed in February to close its Yongbyon reactor, the centrepiece of its nuclear programme and source of weapons-grade plutonium. Yesterday it was announced the shutting-down process had begun and that the inspectors from the UN atomic energy agency could visit the plant to verify the operation.
The announcement followed the transfer to Pyongyang of North Korean funds that had been frozen in a bank in Macau. In return for its cooperation the impoverished country will receive fuel and food aid and other benefits. These including steps to lift trade sanctions and North Korea’s removal from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.