16 July 2007 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the verification by experts from the world body’s nuclear watchdog that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has closed its Yongbyon reactor.
At the invitation of the DPRK’s Government, a team from the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the Asian country this weekend to implement agreements to monitor the shutdown and eventual abandonment of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities.
“As Secretary-General of the United Nations, and as a former foreign minister of the Republic of Korea, I encourage the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and other parties to continue to implement their commitments to realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as soon as possible,” Mr. Ban told reporters at a Headquarters press conference in New York today.
Late last month, IAEA inspectors visited Pyongyang and reached agreement with authorities regarding arrangements for the Agency’s monitoring and verification of the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility and the reactor under construction in Taechon.
“This is just one step, but I think that it is a very important and encouraging step,” Mr. said today.
Eventually, the DPRK will “have to dismantle and destroy all nuclear weapons and related programmes in return for economic assistance as well as the security assurance and political horizons, diplomatic horizons,” he added.