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North Korea Invites IAEA Inspectors To Return

March 20, 2012

North Korea has invited United Nations nuclear inspectors to return -- three years after the communist-ruled country asked UN monitors to leave and restarted its nuclear activities.

North Korean nuclear negotiator Ri Yong-Ho said inspectors of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency have been invited to monitor a new bilateral agreement with the United States.

The IAEA confirmed it has received the invitation.

Under the new deal with Washington, North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, as well as long-range missile launches and nuclear tests, in return for hundreds of thousands of tons of U.S. food aid.

However, the United States has said the deal could be jeopardized by Pyongyang's recent announcement that it plans a long-range missile launch next month, in defiance of UN sanctions against the North.

Chinese and North Korean officials held their second meeting in five days to discuss the launch, state media said, suggesting Beijing may be increasing pressure on Pyongyang.

North Korea said the rocket will carry a satellite, but the United states and others say the launch is the same as a ballistic missile test, which is banned under UN resolutions.

Based on AFP and AP reports


Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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