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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 22:02 GMT
N Korea nuclear decision delay
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il
North Korea may react angrily to a suspension
An international consortium established to build nuclear power plants in North Korea has delayed a decision on whether to suspend the project.

Board members of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (Kedo), who represent the United States, Japan, South Korea and the European Union, are to refer the matter to their governments.

Kedo spokesman Roland Tricot said after the meeting in New York that a decision on the project would be made no later than 21 November.

The power station project was agreed upon as part of a 1994 anti-nuclear pact.

The US has sought a suspension of the project arguing that the 1994 agreement has been broken by Pyongyang's renewed attempts to develop nuclear weapons.

"It is our position that the Kedo executive board should agree to formally stop work on the light water reactor project," said State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli.

Behind schedule

But there are fears that an angry North Korean reaction to a decision to suspend the project - which is already years behind schedule - could jeopardise further talks aimed at resolving the crisis.

The last round of talks held in August involving North Korea, Russia, South Korea, China the US and Japan were inconclusive, with Pyongyang vowing to press ahead with its nuclear plans.

Meanwhile, some 600 employees continue construction work on the project.

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