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North Korea: Nuclear Reactors

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects International Atomic Energy Agency monitors (a) to arrive in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and (b) to begin inspection of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor; and what recent discussions she has held with (i) the United States, (ii) South Korea, (iii) China, (iv) Russia and (v) Japan on methods of applying pressure to the DPRK regime to ensure the Yongbyon nuclear reactor is closed. (145097)

Following an invitation on 16 June from the Director-General of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) General Department of Atomic Energy, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr ElBaradei, replied on 18 June, noting that an IAEA team, headed by Deputy Director-General for Safeguards, Mr Olli Heinonen, would visit Pyongyang in the week commencing 25 June.

I understand that the letter of invitation from the DPRK has asked for the IAEA delegation to visit Pyongyang to discuss the modalities for verification and monitoring by the IAEA of the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

Ensuring the closure of the Yongbyon reactor is an issue for discussion amongst members of the six party talks. Although the UK is not a member of the talks, we fully support the process and regularly keep in touch with partners, including through our embassies. We will continue to urge the DPRK to fulfil the commitments it has entered into under the February agreement, including the closure of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, as well as comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1718 and resume its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty.