09/20/2005, 00.00
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South Koreans praise North Korean disarmament

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young

Seoul (AsiaNews) – Despite some remaining controversial points, South Koreans have welcomed the agreement that should lead to the dismantling of North Korean nuclear reactors.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said today during a cabinet meeting that Seoul will continue mediating the dispute. "North Korea and the United States may pull and push over the wording of 'appropriate time' but the South Korean government's role is to mediate," President Roh's spokesman quoted him as saying.

Chung Dong-young, South Korea's Unification Minister, said: "While there are some shortcomings in the Beijing agreement, it is a broad framework. Now a detailed roadmap for the denuclearisation will be produced and implemented."

The agreement signed yesterday in Beijing by the participants to the six-nation talks (China, Russia, United States, Japan and the two Koreas) requires Pyongyang to ensure complete denuclearisation before aid flows from its other signatories.

North Korean leaders said today they will not allow international inspections to verify that atomic weapons are being dismantled until they get a light-water reactor for power generation.

North Korea's Foreign Minister told Washington to provide a reactor as soon as possible so that it can exercise its right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Washington has rejected this demand, stating that the reactor will be built only at the end of the disarmament process. 

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