What now for KEDO?

3 December 2002

Under the Framework agreed by North Korea, South Korea, the USA and others in 1994, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO) would supply North Korea with fuel oil and work would begin on a US-designed reactor, in exchange for the freezing of North Korea's own nuclear programme. But North Korea's admission that it had continued to develop uranium enrichment technology and a further claim that it already had bomb-making capability left the USA entirely wrong-footed.

Now the US has decided to suspend deliveries of fuel oil. In response, North Korea has said it will refuse entry to international inspectors who check how previous oil deliveries have been used. Under the agreement, oil can only be used for electricity generation.

With fuel oil supplies disrupted and a bomb-making programme back on track it is difficult to see what is left of the agreement, but South Korean Minister Jeong Se-hyun said that the disputes were "a psychological battle" between North Korea and the Bush administration, which previously described North Korea as part of an "axis of evil". He said neither country had said the Agreed Framework was over.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, and to submit its facilities for verification. It gave Pyongyang until March to submit a declaration on its arsenal. IAEA director Mohammed el-Baradei said the agency could take the matter to the UN security council in March.

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