02/13/2007, 00.00
CHINA – NORTH KOREA

“Nearly final” deal in Pyongyang nuclear talks

Diplomatic sources say the six-party talks under way in Beijing have already produced an accord that will be signed today. It provides for large oil supplies in exchange for the closure of nuclear reactors. Some of those involved have criticized the draft accord.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An accord on North Korean nuclear disarmament is “nearly final”. Anonymous diplomatic sources of South Korea and the United States said negotiators of the six nations involved should put their official signature to it by this afternoon.

The sources said negotiators of China, Russia, Japan, the United States, South and North Korea reached a de facto agreement during the last session of six-party talks on nuclear disarmament under way in Beijing.

The North Korean delegation has not issued any confirmation and some of those involved have said the agreement is “very bad”. According to a draft of the agreement, Pyongyang will receive 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in exchange for shutting down its nuclear reactors. The regime should also commit to allowing inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency to enter its territory.

Once this first phase is over, the other five nations will guarantee a further supply of 950,000 tons of oil in exchange for the complete closure of atomic structures.

John Bolton, ex-ambassador of Washington at the United Nations, said the Stalinist regime led by Kim Jong-il “should not be rewarded with massive shipments of heavy fuel oil for only partially dismantling its nuclear programme. This sends exactly the wrong signal to would-be proliferators around the world.”

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