Nuclear deal done

BEIJING - US technicians are likely to begin dismantling a key North Korean nuclear complex by the end of this week.

BEIJING - US technicians are likely to begin dismantling a key North Korean nuclear complex by the end of this week.

The team of US experts flew to Pyongyang yesterday to oversee the disabling of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which is capable of making plutonium for nuclear bombs.

The moves follow a breakthrough deal in February under which North Korea, which tested a nuclear device last year in defiance of international warnings, will shut down its plant and admit UN nuclear monitors.

After lengthy talks in Beijing involving North and South Korea, the US, Japan, Russia and China, Pyongyang agreed to disable its main nuclear facilities by the end of this year. It will cripple the plants but not destroy them.

In exchange, the impoverished North Korea will receive a million tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid. The US will also move towards taking North Korea off its terrorism blacklist.

US envoy Christopher Hill said yesterday: "We need to get on with the actual abandonment of the weaponised plutonium and to irreversibly dismantle these facilities." - Reuters

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