By HYUNG-JIN KIM, Associated Press Writer
SEOUL, South Korea –
File satellite image of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor. North Korea said Sunday it would resume work to disable its plutonium-producing nuclear plants and readmit UN inspectors after the United States removed Pyongyang from a terrorism blacklist.(AFP/Digital Globe/File)
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it will again allow inspections by the United States and theat its Yongbyon nuclear complex to verify the disablement process, pledged under a 2007 disarmament-for-aid deal with the U.S. and four other regional powers.
“We welcome the U.S. which has honored its commitment to delist (North Korea) as ‘a state sponsor of terrorism,'” the ministry said in a statement carried by the country’s official.
North Korea halted its nuclear disablement in mid-August in anger over what it called U.S. delays in removing it from the terror list. The country has since taken steps toward reassembling its plutonium-producing facility and barred international inspectors from the site.
The U.S. had said North Korea first had to allow verification of the declaration of its nuclear programs it submitted in June. On Saturday, the U.S. said it took the North off the terrorism blacklist because Pyongyang had agreed to all Washington’s nuclear inspection demands.
U.S. officials said North Korea agreed to allow atomic experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all of its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites on mutual consent, and would permit them to verify that it has told the truth about transfers of nuclear technology and allegations it ran a separate secret .
U.S. officials, however, said the North could again be placed on the blacklist if it doesn’t comply with the inspections. The North also said Sunday that prospects for its disarmament depend on whether the U.S. delisting actually takes effect and the North receives remaining international oil shipments promised under the 2007 aid deal.