News



DATE=5/8/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-231897
TITLE=NORTH KOREA/ U-S NUCLEAR (L-ONLY)
BYLINE=JOHN LARKIN
DATELINE=SEOUL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  NORTH KOREA IS THREATENING TO RESUME ITS SUSPECT NUCLEAR 
PROGRAM.  JOHN LARKIN REPORTS FROM SEOUL THAT NORTH KOREA ACCUSED
THE UNITED STATES ON FRIDAY OF RENEGING ON A 1994 AGREEMENT TO 
SUPPLY IT WITH NUCLEAR ENERGY. 

TEXT:  THE 1994 DEAL REQUIRED NORTH KOREA TO DISMANTLE ITS 
NUCLEAR PROGRAM, BECAUSE OF SUSPICIONS BY THE U-S GOVERNMENT THAT
IT WAS BEING USED TO PRODUCE WEAPONS-GRADE PLUTONIUM FOR NUCLEAR 
WEAPONS.

IN RETURN, A GROUP OF NATIONS LED BY THE UNITED STATES PROMISED 
TO PROVIDE THE NORTH WITH TWO SO-CALLED PEACE-TIME NUCLEAR 
REACTORS, AT A COST OF FIVE POINT TWO BILLION DOLLARS.

TO TIDE OVER NORTH KOREA'S ENERGY NEEDS DURING THEIR 
CONSTRUCTION, THE UNITED STATES UNDERTOOK TO DELIVER 500-THOUSAND
TONS OF FUEL OIL EACH YEAR.

BUT CONGRESS IS RELUCTANT TO APPROVE FUNDING FOR THE OIL, WHICH 
IS ESTIMATED AT UP TO 60 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.  A SOUTH  KOREAN
OFFICIAL SAID SOME SHIPMENTS HAVE BEEN DELAYED.

ON FRIDAY, NORTH KOREA VOICED ITS STERN DISAPPROVAL OF THE 
DELAYS.  PYONGYANG OFFICIALS WARNED NORTH KOREA WILL REVIVE ITS 
FROZEN NUCLEAR PROGRAM, AND INDICATED THE NORTH WOULD REPROCESS 
STORED NUCLEAR FUEL RODS AND PLUTONIUM-RICH SLUDGE INTO 
WEAPONS-GRADE MATERIAL.

THE UNITED STATES IS TRYING TO CONVINCE SOUTH KOREA AND JAPAN TO 
SHARE THE COST OF THE OIL SHIPMENTS, BUT  NO  AGREEMENT HAS BEEN 
REACHED.  LAST WEEK, A SENIOR U-S GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL VOICED 
CONCERN THAT THE ABSENCE OF A COST-SHARING ARRANGEMENT COULD 
DERAIL THE 1994 ACCORD.  

ANALYSTS SAID NORTH KOREA'S THREATS WERE NOTHING NEW, BUT AGREED 
THE FUNDING DEADLOCK COULD POSE PROBLEMS IF  NOT  ADDRESSED.  ONE
DIPLOMAT SAID THE SITUATION COULD ESCALATE IF THE NORTH DECIDED 
TO BREAK THE SEALS ON CANS IN WHICH THE SPENT FUEL RODS ARE 
STORED.  

THE UNITED STATES AND NORTH KOREA WERE DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO A 
MILITARY CONFRONTATION IN 1994, WHEN FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY 
CARTER INTERVENED TO STRIKE THE REACTORS DEAL WITH PYONGYANG. 
(SIGNED)

NEB/JL/GC/FC/MMK

08-May-98 7:36 AM EDT (1136 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.