U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill (C) shakes hands with Japan's director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Akitaka Saiki (L) and South Korea's nuclear envoy Kim Sook. /REUTERS
(Click to enlarge)

N. Korea Nuke Facility ‘Could Be Blown Up This Month’

The chief South Korean negotiator to six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, Kim Sook, hinted Tuesday that the cooling tower attached to the North’s main nuclear facility could be blown up some time this month. Kim said it was likely to be done “around the time when North Korea submits a declaration on its nuclear program, rather than when the six-party talks resume.”

After a meeting with U.S. chief envoy Christopher Hill and Japan's Akitaka Saiki in Washington D.C., Kim said the destruction of the tower “carries a symbolic meaning by bringing the first phase of dismantlement forward,” which would give impetus to the resumption of the six-party talks. He said blowing up the cooling tower signals the beginning of third phase of dismantlement, specified in the Feb. 13, 2007 six-nation agreement. He added there is no need to wait until the second phase of disablement is completed.

Hill, meanwhile, said the long-overdue full declaration of all nuclear programs and stockpiles is on the way. "We are getting to the point where the declaration is coming -- I can't tell you precisely days or weeks,” he said after the trilateral talks. Hill said the North will give a full account, hinting that its alleged nuclear cooperation with Syria and uranium enrichment program will also be mentioned in whatever form possible.

Read More>>

english.chosun.com  (Posted 5/21/08)