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Friday, 15 November, 2002, 10:10 GMT
No more oil aid for N Korea
Kedo meeting in New York
The US had called for the halting of the fuel aid
South Korea has pressed North Korea to scrap its suspected nuclear programme, welcoming a decision by the US and its allies to stop deliveries of oil to its impoverished neighbour.


I hope this message will be heard by North Korea

South Korean official
Diplomats from South Korea, the US, the European Union and Japan agreed that a 42,000 tonne shipment of fuel, currently on its way to North Korea, should be the last.

The US had called for the aid to be stopped, unless the Communist regime dismantled its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

South Korea and Japan had both argued for continuing the fuel shipments over the winter, and analysts say they faced several weeks of pressure from the US over the issue.

But on Friday South Korea said it was "quite united" with its allies and "pleased" with the decision to cut off supplies.

"I hope this message will be heard by North Korea," a senior government official told reporters.

The South Korea Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Tae-shik said the government would continue to holds talks with Pyongyang.

Deadlock

The fuel decision was announced as the allies met in New York as part of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (Kedo), which administers a 1994 accord designed to limit North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Protest in Seoul
Many in South Korea oppose aid to the North
Under the plan, North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear programme in return for 500,000 tonnes of fuel oil a year in aid.

Washington considers that Pyongyang nullified the 1994 pact, after confessing to a US envoy last month that it was trying to build nuclear weapons with enriched uranium.

"Future (oil) shipments will depend on North Korea's concrete and credible actions to dismantle completely its highly enriched uranium programme," said the Kedo statement.

North Korea says it will only scrap its nuclear programme if the US signs a non-aggression treaty.

Both South Korea and Japan have expressed doubts that stopping oil deliveries would persuade North Korea to terminate its nuclear weapons programme.

They fear it would instead lead to a revival of an earlier, plutonium-based nuclear programme.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Emma Simpson reports from New York
"North Korea is being punished for its secret weapons programme"
Aidan Foster Carter, Leeds University's Korea Centre
"It is hoped this will persuade the North Koreans to do something about their nuclear program"

Nuclear tensions

Inside North Korea

Divided peninsula

TALKING POINT
See also:

14 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
06 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
06 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
04 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
30 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
19 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
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