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North Korea resumes nuclear activities -

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North Korea resumes nuclear activities

The World Today - Thursday, 25 September , 2008 12:26:00

Reporter: Emily Bourke

ELEANOR HALL: Now to North Korea where the regime has announced it's pulling out of the five party
nuclear deal and will restart its reactor.

Pyongyang is blaming the US, saying it's failed to deliver on its part of the bargain and made last
minute changes to the deal.

Nuclear experts say it will take several months for the regime to bring the plant back on line but
diplomats in Asia and the United States are scrambling to find out what's really motivating the
unpredictable and reclusive North Korean regime.

Emily Bourke has our report.

EMILY BOURKE: When North Korea finally agreed last year to abandon its nuclear ambitions it was
hailed as a massive diplomatic victory but the painstaking negotiations and the disarmament-for-aid
agreement are now in tatters.

Melissa Fleming from the International Atomic Energy Agency says inspectors have now left the
plutonium plant.

MELISSA FLEMING: The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) asked the IAEA to remove seals
and surveillance from the reprocessing plant in Yongbyon. This work was completed today. There are
no more seals and surveillance equipment in place at the reprocessing facility.

The DPRK has also informed the IAEA inspectors that they plan to introduce nuclear material to the
reprocessing plant in one week's time.

EMILY BOURKE: North Korea says it's preparing to restart the Yongbyon facility, restoring it to its
original state because the United States has failed to follow through with its promised incentives.

The North also says it's no longer interested in one of its main demands, removal from a US
terrorist blacklist.

Pyongyang has also criticised Washington for making an extra request: detailed verification,
including soil samples and interviews with scientists. North Korea has rejected that demand, saying
verification was never part of the deal.

In a statement North Korea's foreign ministry says it will now go its own way. Gregory L Schulte is
the US Ambassador to the IAEA.

GREGORY L SCHULTE: This is obviously a matter of some concern to us. It's a disturbing development
and our intention is to continue to work very closely with the other members of the six-party to
figure out how to address this issue.

EMILY BOURKE: But many speculate that the North's moves could be motivated by strategy as well. It
could use the year it would take to restart its sole reprocessing plant to wrest further
concessions from the US and other nations seeking to strip it of its atomic program.

Despite the apparent unravelling of a rare foreign policy achievement by the Bush administration,
the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says North Korea's actions have by no means killed off
the country's nuclear disarmament.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: The path ahead is for there to be agreement on a verification protocol so that we
can continue along the path of the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. And the North Koreans
know that and so we will continue working with our partners on what steps we might need to take.

EMILY BOURKE: While there are fears North Korea may be further isolating itself and harsh
condemnation may accelerate its nuclear activities, Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith is
calling for even tougher measures.

STEPHEN SMITH: And what we have seen in the last couple of days just adds to our concern. We call
upon the international community to fully support the Security Council resolutions. We would like
the Security Council to consider further effective measures that it might be able to take.

EMILY BOURKE: Dr Mohamed ElBaradei the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency
says he hopes the situation hasn't gone past the point of no return.

MOHAMED ELBARADEI: The DPRK authorities asked the agency and inspectors to remove seals and
surveillance equipment to enable them to carry out tests at their reprocessing plant, which is they
say will not involve nuclear material. I still hope that conditions can be created for the DPRK to
return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the earliest possible date. And for the resumption by the
agency of comprehensive safeguards.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Dr Mohamed ElBaradei the director general of the International Atomic Energy
Agency ending Emily Bourke's report.