By RIA Novosti
Tokyo : South Korea will begin delivering fuel oil to North Korea next week after Pyongyang pledged to shut down its nuclear reactor, the Unification Ministry said Wednesday.
"As agreed upon between the two sides, the first shipment will be made sometime next week," Yonhap news agency quoted Kim Nam-sik, spokesman for the ministry, as saying. "The amount will be between 5,000 tonnes and 10,000 tonnes."
Fuel supplies were a condition set forth by Pyongyang to begin undertaking measures as part of the first stage of its denuclearization.
South Korea is expected to deliver 50,000 tonnes of fuel oil first, to be followed by another 950,000 tonnes from the United States, Russia and China.
Japan refused to join the assistance programme until the problem of its nationals kidnapped by North Korean security services in the 1970s-1980s is solved.
The latest reports said Japan also opposed South Korea's intention to launch fuel oil supplies until Pyongyang shuts down its nuclear reactor.
Japanese cabinet spokesman Yasuhisa Shiozaki insisted Wednesday that international assistance and the closure of the reactor be carried out in parallel, though North Korea had asked for assistance first.