Tags: U.S. | Keeps | Abetting | North | Korea

U.S. Keeps Abetting North Korea

Wednesday, 13 November 2002 12:00 AM

U.S. officials last month decried Pyongyang's disclosure of its nuclear program as a violation of Bill Clinton's unverifiable 1994 accord that obligates the United States to provide the country with heavy oil shipments, known as the Joint Framework Agreement, but would not go so far as to say the pact was null and void.

"When we told North Korea that we knew what they were doing," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Oct. 20, "they came back the next day, admitted it, blamed us for their actions, and then said they considered that agreement nullified. When we have an agreement between two parties and one says it's nullified, then it's hard to see what you do with such an agreement."

On Wednesday evening, the Bush administration was still drafting the diplomatic instructions for Ambassador Charles Pritchard, who is scheduled to attend a meeting in New York today of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, which was created by the 1994 agreement to, among other things, deliver the fuel aid to North Korea and develop plans for the eventual construction of a light-water nuclear reactor.

A U.S. official told United Press International on Wednesday, "We are willing to deliver the fuel, but this is almost certain to be the last shipment." This official said the U.S. would demand that North Korea disclose and fully dismantle its program for the fuel shipments to continue.

KEDO, which is composed of representatives of Japan, the European Union and South Korea, was created in 1995 as an offshoot of the 1994 Joint Framework Agreement between North Korea and the United States. Under the accord, Pyongyang pledged to allow international inspectors access to its nuclear reactors and to cease the enrichment of uranium spent fuel for weapons purposes. In exchange, the United States agreed to send 500,000 tons of heavy oil annually to North Korea and help construct a light-water nuclear reactor to address the country's energy crisis.

But in September, North Korean officials admitted to a program for enriching uranium, one of the essential steps to producing nuclear weapons.

Dissatisfied with the pace of plans to construct the light-water nuclear reactor, Pyonyang in meetings with Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly also declared the 1994 accord null and void.

The admission has thrown the fate of U.S. fuel assistance to North Korea, which was dubbed in January by the president in his State of the Union Address as one of three members of the "axis of evil," into doubt.

On Nov. 4 a tanker of petroleum left Singapore en route to North Korea, but U.S. officials would not say whether they had yet authorized the delivery of fuel. On Tuesday, Japanese and South Korean Foreign Ministers Yoriko Kawaguchi and Choi Sung Hong said at a meeting of the Community of Democracies group in Seoul that KEDO should not disband and urged the United States to agree to deliver the shipment to North Korea.

On Wednesday State Department spokesman Richard Boucher offered no comment on the fuel shipment. "We'll discuss the issue of heavy fuel oil, as well as other things, at the board meeting tomorrow in New York. We've continued to consult with our friends and allies, particularly the other members of the board."

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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U.S. officials last month decried Pyongyang's disclosure of its nuclear program as a violation of Bill Clinton's unverifiable 1994 accord that obligates the United States to provide the country with heavy oil shipments, known as the Joint Framework Agreement, but would not...
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2002-00-13
Wednesday, 13 November 2002 12:00 AM
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