IAEA wants to clarify its role in North Korea
The UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei wants to clarify whether North Korea has to submit a declaration about its nuclear programme to his organisation, he told diplomats on Monday, reported dpa.
If the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is still being considered a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it should report its nuclear material and facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and let inspectors verify the declaration, he told the IAEA Board of Governors.
Ever since North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT in January 2003, members of the treaty have not come to an official agreement about the status of the reclusive Asian nation.
The US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan are currently working on setting up another round of six-party-talks with North Korea to talk about a full declaration and verification of its nuclear programme.
So far, the DPRK has provided the US with a partial declaration and operating records of its Yongbyon nuclear reactor. The IAEA currently has no role in receiving or verifying this declaration, which is part of the 2007 six-party agreement to declare North Korea's nuclear activities and disable its nuclear facilities.
If the Non-Proliferation Treaty is still in force, "any declaration must come to the Agency," a source close to the IAEA said Monday.
The nuclear Agency recently held discussions with some members of the six-party talks on how the IAEA could receive North Korea's nuclear information, a diplomat told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa recently. Pyongyang is not involved in these talks, he said.
Even though countries like the US believe that North Korea left the NPT, others question whether Pyongyang has ever fulfilled all necessary conditions for annulling the pact.
But even if NPT members decide that North Korea is no longer a member, an older inspection agreement with the IAEA from 1977 would still be in force which would allow the nuclear watchdog limited inspections of a few specified sites.