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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 September, 2004, 04:54 GMT 05:54 UK
Nuclear monitors return to Seoul
By Charles Scanlon
BBC correspondent in Seoul

Students look at a diagram showing the theory of nuclear energy at the Seoul Science Museum
The South Koreans have shown interest in the nuclear cycle
A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrives in South Korea on Sunday to resume an investigation into secret nuclear experiments.

The IAEA has expressed concern about Seoul's nuclear activities over the last two decades.

Seoul has repeatedly stressed it has no intention of building nuclear weapons.

North Korea says it will not return to talks on its own nuclear programme until the US drops its double standards on nuclear proliferation in the region.

The inspectors are returning to South Korea for the second time this month to continue investigations into illicit nuclear experiments.

The director-general of the IAEA, Mohammed el-Baradei, is also due to visit Seoul next month in a further sign of the agency's concern.

Questions

South Korea has admitted its scientists conducted tests in 1982 and again four years ago to extract plutonium and to enrich uranium, two separate routes to an atomic bomb.

Oh Joon, right, Director-General for International Organization of Foreign Ministry and Cho Chung-won, left, Director-General for Nuclear Energy Cooperation of Science and Technology
South Korean officials are liaising with the IAEA over the revelations
But the government says the tests were on too small a scale to be significant and has blamed curious scientists acting without official authorisation.

Many questions remain unanswered.

The inspectors will investigate why South Korea failed to declare three separate sites for the production of uranium metal which was used as a raw material for some of the experiments.

North Korea is using the South's predicament to divert criticism of its own well-advanced atomic bomb programme.

The state news agency has backed up earlier statements that the North will not return to the negotiating table until South Korea's activities have been fully investigated.

It accuses the United States of double standards, for its relatively relaxed public response to the revelations from South Korea.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Charles Scanlon
"South Korea has promised to give the team full co-operation"



SEE ALSO:
US chides Seoul on nuclear tests
10 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Seoul faces fallout from disclosures
09 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Seoul admits extracting plutonium
09 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Seoul allies calm on nuclear shock
03 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific


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