Kedo workers go home, Kim Jong Il goes to China

11 January 2006

The final Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (Kedo) workers of the doomed light water reactor project in North Korea left the country and returned to the south in early January.

Five Kedo representatives, 52 workers, including seven officials from Korea Electric Power and 18 guards arrived in South Korea this week. Construction of the two PWRs has been suspended since November 2003 when an agreement between the USA and North Korea over nuclear development ran aground.

Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has conducted a tour of China in a bullet proof train at the invitation of Chinese Communist party chief and President Hu Jintao. After visiting high-tech companies and witnessing Chinese economic reform, it is thought that Kim discussed with Hu the six-nation talks over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

The Korean Central News Agency, the regime's official mouthpiece said that North Korea would "join Chinese comrades in the efforts to seek a way of overcoming the difficulties lying in the way of the six-party talks and steadily advance the talks."

In September 2005, North Korea promised to "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes" and re-sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty "at an early date" in exchange for energy assistance, economic aid and security assurances. Soon after, however, the state was again demanding the completion of the Kedo units.

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