North Korea orders UN team to leave (TELEGRAPH UK) By Toby Harnden in Washington 12/28/02)
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North Korea ordered United Nations inspectors monitoring its nuclear
reactors to leave the country yesterday, intensifying the crisis over
the communist dictatorship´s weapons programme.
In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Pyongyang
called for the inspectors to depart immediately. It said there
was "no justification for them to remain here" now it had decided to
reactivate its nuclear facilities. The United States was accused of
making North Korea "the target for a nuclear pre-emptive strike".
North Korea´s Yongbyon nuclear complex, which is capable of producing
weapons-grade plutonium, was being reactivated, the letter said,
because President George W Bush had cancelled shipments of fuel oil
promised in 1994 and said the country was part of an "axis of evil"
with Iran and Iraq.
The White House condemned the actions of Kim Jong-il´s Stalinist
regime but emphasised it would respond with diplomacy rather than the
threat of military force. Some 37,000 American troops are stationed
in South Korea.
"We will not respond to threats or broken commitments," said Scott
McClellan, deputy White House spokesman. "We seek a peaceful
The Vienna-based IAEA said it would not accede to Pyongyang´s demand
that its three inspectors, one of whom is a new arrival due to
replace another, leave the country. "At the moment, our inspectors
are staying put. They are on stand-by," said a spokesman.
North Korea has already removed seals and UN monitoring equipment
from the Yongbyon site and transferred at least 2,000 fresh fuel rods
to a position close to the reactor there. The reactor needs 8,000
rods to be started. (© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2002.
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