Japan welcomes North Korea's decision on shutdown
( RIA Novosti ) - Tokyo welcomes North Korea's agreement to decommission its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon by December 31, Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said on Thursday.
Pyongyang pledged on Wednesday to decommission a 5 MW nuclear reactor, a radiochemical lab and a fuel processing plant. All three facilities are currently closed down and sealed off.
"We appreciate the agreement, which specified the steps North Korea must take toward the end of the year toward its denuclearization," Yasuo Fukuda said.
However, Japanese sanctions against the secretive Communist state are to continue for at least another six months because it has yet to take concrete steps to disable its nuclear program.
"We hope [ North Korea] will take concrete steps under the agreement," Fakuda said.
A statement agreed on Wednesday at the six-party disarmament talks said U.S. representatives will, within the next two weeks, arrive in the country to lead work to decommission North Korea's nuclear facilities.
The statement also said that the United States is to head the disablement activities and provide preliminary funding, and that North Korea has pledged not to transfer nuclear materials, technology or know-how.
North Korea, which tested a nuclear bomb last October, closed down its main nuclear reactor in July under the February six-party deal, a major breakthrough in talks which have continued for over three years.
In exchange, the North will receive 950,000 metric tons of fuel oil for its thermal power-generating plants, in addition to the 50,000 already delivered for the reactor's closure.