Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

N. Korea to Open 7 Sites Accord Would Allow Renewed Inspections of Nuclear Facilities

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

N. Korea to Open 7 Sites Accord Would Allow Renewed Inspections of Nuclear Facilities

Article excerpt

Easing fear of a nuclear arms race in Northeast Asia, the Clinton administration said Wednesday that North Korea had agreed to allow renewed international inspections of seven nuclear sites.

Lynn Davis, undersecretary of state for international security affairs, called the development "very good news."

Davis said the next step in the process was for the North Koreans to meet with officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency to work out details for the inspections, which are designed to ensure that nuclear facilities are not used for military purposes.

Asked about the talks with the Koreans in an interview with columnists, President Bill Clinton described the discussions as good and said he was hopeful that there would be an agreement.

Davis said that only a cooperative attitude by the North would ensure an end to the dispute.

"That means an ongoing regular process of inspections and not ones that they can continue to sort of nickel and dime the IAEA and the world community each time that there's the requirement for such an inspection," she said.

Some experts view the nuclear issue as potentially the most serious foreign policy matter the Clinton administration faces.

It is generally agreed that if North Korea becomes able to build a nuclear weapon, an arms race in the region would follow quickly, producing a highly unstable situation throughout the region.

The Central Intelligence Agency has calculated that the North may have one or two atomic bombs, but some experts doubt that the North has a delivery mechanism. North Korea has denied that it has a nuclear weapons program.

The administration has refrained from pursuing a policy of confrontation against North Korea, hoping to resolve the issue through negotiations. It has had the strong support of Japan and South Korea in this approach.

The administration has said failure to resolve the issue could lead to an effort in the U.N. Security Council to impose global economic sanctions against North Korea. …

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