Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Image grab of North Korean TV showing apparent rocket launch
Pyongyang says it launched a communications satellite on 5 April

North Korea has vowed to walk out on international talks to end its nuclear programme, and said it would restore its disabled nuclear reactor.

The unusually strong statement follows criticism by the UN Security Council of its recent rocket launch, which critics say was a long-range missile test.

North Korea says its launch was part of a peaceful space programme, designed to put a satellite into orbit.

Pyongyang described the UN statement as an "unbearable insult".

The BBC's John Sudworth in Seoul says the six-party talks, involving North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the US, have seen many setbacks since they began more than five years ago, but now North Korea says it is walking out for good.

Feb 2007 - North Korea agrees to close its main nuclear reactor in exchange for fuel aid
June 2007 - North Korea shuts its main Yongbyon reactor
June 2008 - North Korea makes its long-awaited declaration of nuclear assets
Oct 2008 - The US removes North Korea from its list of countries which sponsor terrorism
Dec 2008 - Pyongyang slows work to dismantle its nuclear programme after a US decision to suspend energy aid
Jan 2009 - The North says it is scrapping all military and political deals with the South, accusing it of "hostile intent"
5 April 2009 - Pyongyang launches a rocket carrying what it says is a communications satellite
14 April 2009 - After criticism of the launch from the UN Security Council, North Korea vows to walk out of six-party talks

The North said it would never again take part in the talks, adding that it would restore its partially disabled Yongbyon nuclear reactor - the fuel source for its 2006 atomic test.

Pyongyang partially dismantled the plant in 2008, as part of an international agreement which guaranteed it aid and diplomatic concessions in exchange for disabling its nuclear facilities.

The government-controlled North Korean news agency said the action was in response to a UN statement condemning the recent rocket launch and agreeing to tighten existing sanctions.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry said the UN move infringed its sovereignty and "severely debases" North Koreans.

The ministry said it would "strengthen its nuclear deterrent for its defence by all means".

China, Pyongyang's closest ally, called for "calm and restraint" from all sides, while Russia and Japan urged North Korea to return to the negotiating table.

The move comes hours after the 15-member Security Council unanimously condemned the long-range rocket launch on 5 April.

The council also ordered the UN Sanctions Committee to begin enforcing both financial sanctions and an existing arms embargo imposed after the 2006 tests.

There had been hope that the unified statement could pave the way for a return to the talks, which have stalled over the inability to verify the shutdown of Yongbyon.

North Korea had previously threatened that any criticism of the rocket launch would cause it to walk away from the negotiating table.

But our correspondent says there will be many in the diplomatic community who believe there is still room for negotiation and that North Korea can be persuaded to return.




Anonymous Toronto Realtor said...

I wonder what does North Korea - or its government - gained from this affair. Prestige? More security? More food? Hardly any of these. Of course it's unfair that only big nations are allowed to "play" with big guns, but that's a fact everyone has to accept. Seems like the cold war never ended.

5:33 pm  

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