The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said a visit to North Korea to discuss its atomic program is unlikely in the near future.
“Through recent contacts with the DPRK, it has become clear that there is no immediate prospect of an Agency mission taking place,” Director-General Yukiya Amano told the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-member board of governors at a meeting yesterday in Vienna, according to an e- mailed statement. Amano referred to the country by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea in March invited the IAEA to discuss the eventual monitoring of its uranium enrichment activities at the main Yongbyon nuclear facility, as part of a February food aid deal with the U.S. in exchange for a halt on nuclear and missile tests. The agreement fell apart after Kim Jong Un’s regime unsuccessfully fired a long-range rocket on April 13.
“The Agency has not been able to implement any safeguard measures in the DPRK for more than three years, so our knowledge of the current status of the country’s nuclear program is limited,” Amano said in the statement as the IAEA began a week- long board meeting. He urged North Korea to “fully comply” with its international obligations and cooperate with the IAEA.
The U.S., South Korea and Japan have expressed concerns that the North may conduct a nuclear test to recover from the embarrassment of the rocket failure. The totalitarian regime denied planning such a move, while satellite photos have indicated preparation activities at rocket launch and nuclear testing sites.
North Korea yesterday said its military has “strategic rockets” targeted at specific coordinates of seven South Korean media outlets for their “vicious smear campaign” against Kim Jong Un, in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
The North Korean army listed the longitude and latitude of the offices of the Chosun Ilbo, Dong-A Ilbo and Joongang Ilbo newspapers in Seoul and named four local broadcasting stations as additional possible targets.
Kim’s regime often issues threats of war, including the April 26 statement that a special action squad will turn South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and his government to “ashes.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Sangwon Yoon in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at email@example.com