North Korea has shut down all five
nuclear facilities at its main Yongbyon complex, International Atomic
Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei says.
An IAEA team is in North Korea to monitor the closures
IAEA monitors in North Korea had verified the four new closures, Mr
ElBaradei told journalists in Malaysia.
North Korea shut down its sole working reactor at Yongbyon on
The move comes with international envoys meeting in the Chinese
capital, Beijing, to discuss the next steps in North Korea's nuclear
"We have verified that all five nuclear facilities have been shut
down and that appropriate measures have been put in place, including
sealing some of these facilities," Mr ElBaradei told journalists in
"We expect that in the next few weeks we will continue to apply the
necessary monitoring and verification measures," he said.
Facilities shut down include construction sites for a reactor and a
fuel reprocessing site.
The Yongbyon closures are the first step in a deal agreed in February
2007, under which North Korea is to receive a total of one million tons
of energy aid if it ends its nuclear programme.
Negotiators for the six countries involved in the deal - the US,
China, Japan, South Korea and Russia, as well as North Korea - are
meeting for two days of talks in Beijing.
They want North Korea to agree to a timetable for the deal's second
phase, under which it must declare and disable all its nuclear
N KOREA NUCLEAR DEAL
N Korea to "shut down and seal" Yongbyon reactor, then
disable all nuclear facilities
In return, will be given 1m tons of heavy fuel oil
N Korea to invite IAEA back to monitor deal
Under earlier 2005 deal, N Korea agreed to end nuclear
programme and return to non-proliferation treaty
N Korea's demand for light water reactor to be discussed
at "appropriate time"
"We all know that we've got a long road ahead of us with many steps,"
US envoy Christopher Hill said ahead of the talks.
"Maybe we could try to agree on getting these next phase things done
in calendar year 07," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.
For his part, before leaving Pyongyang, North Korean negotiator Kim
Kye-gwan said that the six-party talks would address "obligations and
actions" to be taken by all sides.
Analysts say that while the Yongbyon closures are an important step,
persuading North Korea to fully disclose all of its nuclear facilities
and agree to their being disabled is likely to be a long and difficult
One hurdle is the US allegation that North Korea - which carried out
its first nuclear test in October 2006 - has a secret uranium enrichment
programme. Pyongyang denies this.
"Uranium enrichment is an ongoing issue and, believe me, we are
working on it," Mr Hill said.
Mr ElBaradei emphasised that full transparency from Pyongyang was the
"The more transparency we get, the quicker we will be able to verify
that everything in the DPRK (North Korea) has been declared," he said.