Russia called on North Korea on Wednesday to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to resolve the growing crisis around Pyongyang's nuclear program. In an interview with journalists, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said that "the situation around North Korea's nuclear program worries Russia, as it negatively affects the situation on the Korean Peninsula."
"In these conditions, Pyongyang's cooperation with the IAEA takes on special significance. We call on North Korea to cooperate with the agency," Losyukov said. Over the past few days, North Korea has cut UN seals and impeded surveillance equipment at the Yongbyon reactor and its spent fuel pond, a fuel rod fabrication plant and a reprocessing facility, according to IAEA director Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei. North Korea had agreed to freeze the facilities, which experts believe were used to make one or two weapons in the 1990s, in a 1994 deal with the United States that brought Pyongyang economic benefits.
Pyongyang said on Dec. 12 that it planned to reactivate them to produce electricity because Washington had failed on a pledge to provide energy sources. After Washington warned it away from reviving the Yongbyon plant, North Korea said Tuesday that US policy was leading the region to the "brink of nuclear war." Losyukov said that the IAEA must analyze the situation at Yongbyon, saying that course of action would prevent "conflicts and emotional outbursts," the Russia Journal wrote.
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