North Korea unlikely to stop nuclear reactor before late July

By RIA Novosti

Tokyo : Following the visit of a senior International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) official to North Korea, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Friday the country's five nuclear facilities were unlikely to be shut down before late July.

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Olli Heinonen, IAEA deputy director general, who led a delegation of the agency to North Korea last week, said an agreement had been reached with North Korea on establishing an IAEA monitoring operation to stop and seal the reactor.

He said participants in the six nation talks would now have to discuss the timelines.

"If the five nuclear facilities are stopped, it will take another few weeks to seal the reactor and install security cameras," Aso said. "The operation is likely to be completed in late July."

Upon his return from Pyongyang to Vienna, Heinonen said five nuclear facilities would have to be sealed, although most security cameras were still in place, it would be necessary to replace some of the equipment.

Referring to an IAEA source, Japan's Nikkei online newspaper said Friday that the nuclear facilities could also be stopped without agency experts, who could arrive later to document the closure and seal the reactor.

The IAEA said its 35-member board would consider the report on monitoring and verification in North Korea and other issues at the next IAEA meeting in Vienna July 9.