The US government is to continue funding the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO) project to build to PWRs, despite the on-going diplomatic stand-off between Washington and Pyongyang.

However, Washington has only approved $3.72 million in assistance funds for ‘administrative’ costs for fiscal year 2003. The Bush administration insists these funds will not be used for the construction of the reactors, or finance shipments of heavy fuel oil to the country. Some US officials have indicated that KEDO’s executive board will soon agree to stop work on the reactors.

All the participants in the recent talks held in Beijing, including the USA, have expressed support for another round of discussions.

Under the 1994 arms-control deal during the Clinton administration, financing for the two units was promised to North Korea in return for a halt to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.