12 Jul 2008

Nth Korea agrees to checks on nuke dismantling

9:35 pm on 12 July 2008

The six-nation North Korean nuclear disarmament talks ended on Saturday with Pyongyang agreeing to let outside experts verify that its nuclear facilities were being dismantled, envoys said.

The broad details of the verification plans were announced in a joint communique read out by the head of the Chinese delegation, Wu Dawei.

The parties also agreed to adopt a six-party verification mechanism that would include experts from the six nations visiting facilities, reviewing documents and interviewing technical personnel, Mr Wu said.

The United Nations's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, could also be asked to assist in verification if necessary, he said.

North Korea agreed to dismantle its Yongbyon nuclear facilities by the end of October in return for the other five parties to the talks guaranteeing delivery of the remaining heavy fuel oil promised in return by the end of the same month.

The six-nation talks - which involve China as host, the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia - began in 2003 with the aim of persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear programmes.