UN nuclear watchdog invited to visit North Korea

Yongbyon nuclear site in North Korea North Korea said last month it would allow UN nuclear inspectors into the country

North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator has confirmed UN nuclear inspectors have been invited to the country for the first time in three years.

Ri Yong-ho said the aim of the move was to implement a deal with the US.

The North last month agreed to suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for food aid. It also agreed to allow UN inspectors in, the US said.

The invitation comes three months after Kim Jong-un came to power following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.

But North Korea's pledge to co-operate with the international community was thrown into doubt last week, when Pyongyang announced plans to launch what it called a rocket-mounted satellite.

The North said the launch - between 12 and 16 April - would mark the 100th birthday of its late Great Leader Kim Il-sung.

Any launch would be seen as violating UN Security Council resolutions, and the US has described the plans as "highly provocative".

'Nothing decided'

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - the UN's nuclear watchdog - announced it had received the invitation from North Korea on Monday.

It said it would discuss the possible visit with Pyongyang and "other parties concerned".

"Nothing has been decided yet," IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

The move was confirmed later by Mr Ri. Speaking in Beijing, he said: "In order to implement the agreement, we've sent a letter of invitation to the IAEA to send inspectors to our country."

It is unclear how much scope for inspections the IAEA would be given, the BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna reports.

She adds that in the past North Korea has limited access to key sites.

Pyongyang expelled IAEA inspectors 10 years ago after a deal with the US unravelled.

In 2003, the secretive Communist state withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The inspectors were allowed back several years later - but were thrown out again in 2009.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    @PaulErith "What on Earth gives them the right to dictate who can and can't have nuclear weapons? It's absolute hyprocesy. I hate everything that arrogant country stands for!"

    Apparently the US is the only country in the UN? The UN is nearly unanimous (sans N. Korea itself) in forbidding them from having nukes. If we're talking about "hyprocesy", we needn't look any further than your own post.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    65. Robbie777
    1 HOUR AGO
    I suppose the biggest threat comes from any country which has previously used nuclear weapons in anger.
    Against one that used gas & germ weapons in anger. Japan killed over half a million chinese with germs & gas. Thats several times more than died in Hiroshima & Nagasaki combined. Both Japan & North Korea attacked US forces not vice-versa

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Stop this food aid, it is only maintaining the status quo on the Korean peninsula. As cruel as it sounds, we should let the NK gov. handle there own hungry and if people starve then that is not our fault for not helping those in need. It is the NK govs. fault for absoutely irresponisble governance, teaching millions nothing but fear and constantly threatening the entire region.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    I45.ichabod = ignores the wishes of the masses. Seems to think they have a divine right to their existence.

    Sounds more like the coalition to me

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    In a sad way its quite amusing. North Korea threatens to do something provocative unless the US gives them some more food/oil/money. Sadder still is how many westerners think this is entirely reasonable behaviour.

    On the plus side paying off North Korea works & is a cheap way to keep the peace. As Churchill said Jaw-Jaw is better than War-War

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    As I have said before, the perfect solution all of Korea is that if North Korea and South Korea were to be united as the one country, This would bring peace and harmony and North Koreans would have the same freedom as South Koreans.
    The sooner this happens the better, nuclear weapons are just a sideshow

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Why does the US send food aid to hostile states like Sudan, Somalia, NK etc? Could it be concern for the hungry or a cheap way of getting rid of surplus food stocks? I don't know. The US for certain won't get any credit for their efforts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    When you see the ordinary people like you and me on the tv most of them look very frightened and act compliant out of fear it would seem. The people that can really solve this issue are the Chinese they hold sway over N Korea and its govt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    The North Korean people, (ordinary working folk - not rabid, two-headed monsters) need all the aid they can get. They're stuck with a government which has made stupidity an art form & an international community who, judging by HYS, thinks they should all be left to starve. When will the poor everywhere learn that, no matter what government is in power, they'll be exploited, cheated & despised?

  • Comment number 68.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    63. How can you leave a country with illegal nuclear weapons that flagrantly breaches UN humanitarian law and maltreats a captive population out of a discussion like this? Surely they set the benchmark others can only follow?

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    I suppose the biggest threat comes from any country which has previously used nuclear weapons in anger.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    @58.David Horton
    your points are valid, but we should bear in mind that the US had napalm, and the vietcong didn't. General Macarther pressed very hard to use atomic weapons, and Churchill was keen on chemical bombing against Germany. There is still no resolution to the Kent state shootings.
    The west is more sophisticated with propaganda, no more WMD lies, I'll wait for more declassification.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    @39.Anurag Somani - Ok you had your say so I will retort. I may cry foul if a penny drops out of my pocket. But what really gets my back up is that if I left it there a homeless person could pick it up and put it to good use. However in this day and age the government would take that penny and give it to a government from the countries I mentioned, so they could build things they dont require.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    @51 Controlled Pair

    “…Throughout the 50's, the Arabs used the very land Israel now holds, to pick off Israeli civilians with sniper fire…”

    And the Irgun did what?

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    This is truly a rogue state and canot feed its own people due to the disastrous way the state is run. It spends a fortune on arms, the military and pursuing nuclear capability. We should not be providing any aid to it, food or otherwise. Just let it collapse

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    you have ,why other not
    Well perhaps we live in a democracy that isn't still technically at war with its southern neighbour.
    Or because we don't routinely shell nearby islands
    Or maybe because there isn't a mined and razor wired barrier?
    Or that although our PM might be a dork, he isn't a megalomaniac.

    500 chars aint enough...


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