IAEA: N. Korea disabling set for Tuesday
North Korea will resume the process of dismantling its nuclear reactor on Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog said a day earlier that Pyongyang had granted the IAEA access to its nuclear facility in Yongbyon again, reproted CNN.
"Agency inspectors will also now be permitted to re-apply the containment and surveillance measures at the reprocessing facility," said Melissa Fleming, an IAEA spokeswoman.
The quick turnaround comes only days after the United States removed North Korea from its list of states that sponsor terrorism. On October 9, Pyongyang said nuclear inspectors were no longer welcome at its facilities.
North Korea halted the disabling of the plutonium-producing plants in August after a stalemate over verification measures.
Washington had said it would not delist North Korea until Pyongyang agreed to set up an internationally recognizable mechanism to verify it was revealing all its nuclear secrets. Watch the U.S. announcement "
North Korea rejected that provision.
On Saturday, the United States removed North Korea from the list of terrorism sponsors after it said the two countries reached agreement on a number of verification measures.
These include participation by all members of the six-party talks, the role of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, access to all of North Korea's nuclear facilities and what procedures would be used in the verification process.
Participants in the six-party talks, besides the United States and North Korea, are South Korea, China, Japan and Russia.
U.S. envoy Christopher Hill has outlined four steps that North Korea must take to end its nuclear program: shutdown, disable, dismantle, and fully abandon.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Saturday that Japan had agreed to formalizing the agreement at the six-party level, although the issue of North Korea's abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s has not yet been addressed.
Kim Sook -- South Korea's chief envoy to the international disarmament talks with North Korea -- said the move by the United States "completely reverses" the communist nation's decision to halt its disabling process.
North Korea was added to the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1988, the fourth country to be added. Cuba, Syria, Sudan and Iran remain on the list. View details about countries on the list "
Countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism are subject to limitations on foreign aid, a ban on defense exports and sales, restrictions on exports of "dual use" items -- those that could be used for defense or non-defense purposes -- and a variety of financial and other restrictions.
North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program on a promise that it receive energy aid equivalent to one million tons of heavy fuel oil from the nations involved in the disarmament talks.
In June, North Korean officials turned over to China a 60-page declaration, written in English, that details several rounds of plutonium production at the Yongbyon plant dating back to 1986.
In it, North Korea acknowledged producing roughly 40 kilograms of enriched plutonium -- enough for about seven nuclear bombs, according to the U.S. State Department.
Soon after, North Korea publicly destroyed a water cooling tower at the Yongbyon facility.
At the time, the country said it would completely dismantle its Yongbyon nuclear complex by October.