INTERNATIONAL

Time for partners to reciprocate: N. Korea

P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: North Korea on Friday pledged to permit international verification of its nuclear declaration, but insisted the onus for any further progress towards its denuclearisation would lie squarely with its dialogue partners.

The interlocutors are the U.S., South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China, which chairs the dialogue. The declaration, detailing North Korea’s nuclear programmes and collateral aspects, was delivered to facilitate the “dismantlement” of its relevant facilities and the elimination of its “capabilities” and atomic weapons. Under the agreements already reached by the six countries, North Korea would receive conventional energy supplies, economic aid and security guarantees. The political norm is that “action” by North Korea towards its denuclearisation would be matched by “action” by the other five in delivering the agreed supplies.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the pace of this process, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said further discussions could take place “only when all participating countries precisely fulfil their duties” already specified. While Pyongyang had so far “disabled” 80 per cent of its nuclear facilities, the fulfilment of commitments by its partners was hardly 40 per cent.

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