TITLE:COMMENTS AND BACKGROUND ON IAEA ACTION ON NORTH KOREA (04/05/93)
*EPF110 04/05/93 *
COMMENTS AND BACKGROUND ON IAEA ACTION ON NORTH KOREA
(Text: Arms Control Association Press Release) (460)
Following is text of ACA's release of April 1:
The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors ruled
today that North Korea is in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement
with the agency by refusing to permit special inspections at two suspected
nuclear waste sites in North Korea and referred the issue to the U.N.
Security Council for action.
In response to the development, Spurgeon Keeny, president of the Arms
Control Association said, "The IAEA has served the international community
well in North Korea. Now the Security Council should use its influence and
enforcement powers to remedy the noncompliance problem with the goals of
keeping North Korea in the NPT and maintaining the integrity of the IAEA
safeguards system. Today's ruling underscores the critical role the IAEA
fills in international efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear
weapons through the diversion of safeguarded peaceful nuclear materials.
Drawing on lessons learned in Iraq after the Gulf War, the agency used its
safeguards experience in combination with intelligence information from
member states to alert the international community to possible diversions
of safeguarded fissionable materials."
The 35-member Board's action, which was the agency's first noncompliance
ruling against a member of the NPT, came after the expiration on March 31
of an IAEA-imposed deadline for North Korea to allow the special
inspections. In response to the imposition of the deadline, North Korea
had announced on March 12 its intention to withdraw from the nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which requires non-nuclear-weapon member
states to accept comprehensive IAEA safeguards on their nuclear programs.
North Korea's withdrawal from the NPT, which will become effective three
months after Pyongyang notifies the U.N. Security Council and all other NPT
members, would make it the first state to withdraw from the NPT, which
currently has 157 members.
The special inspections of the two suspected nuclear waste storage sites
were originally requested by IAEA Director General Hans Blix on February 9
to resolve discrepancies in North Korea's declarations on earlier plutonium
production. The problem was discovered in the analysis of samples
collected by IAEA personnel during a routine on-site inspection. The
storage sites, which North Korea had attempted to camouflage, were
discovered by U.S. intelligence. The IAEA Board's finding did not include
a finding that North Korea had violated its NPT obligation not to acquire
An advance copy of an editorial on the role of the IAEA in nonproliferation
efforts, which will appear in the next issue of Arms Control Today,
follows. Additional information on these developments is available from
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