- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2002

NEW YORK Key U.S. allies late yesterday backed a Bush administration decision to suspend future oil deliveries to North Korea as punishment for its secret nuclear program.
The decision came after a daylong meeting of the four parties that operate the 8-year-old oil assistance program Japan, South Korea, the European Union and the United States.
President Bush made the decision to suspend future oil shipments Wednesday night, ahead of yesterday's meeting of the four members of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, known as KEDO, which runs the program.
A statement from KEDO's executive board said the suspension would begin with the December shipment and "future shipments will depend on North Korea's concrete and credible actions to dismantle completely its highly enriched uranium program."
"In this light, other KEDO activities with North Korea will be reviewed," said the statement read by South Korean Ambassador Chang Sun-sup, who chairs the board.
KEDO was founded after North Korea signed an agreement with the United States in 1994 pledging to become a nuclear-weapons-free state.
In exchange, the United States promised to provide more than 500,000 tons of heavy oil per year. In addition, South Korea and Japan offered to pay most of the cost for two light-water nuclear reactors that are of limited use for a country intent on developing nuclear weapons. The fate of that project is up in the air.
Mr. Bush decided to suspend the oil shipments after North Korea's acknowledgment last month that it was secretly developing a uranium-based bomb. He agreed to allow a vessel already en route to North Korea to deliver what would be the last U.S. oil shipment unless Pyongyang decides to dismantle its nuclear-weapons program.
The KEDO members condemned North Korea's nuclear-weapons program and demanded that it be eliminated "in a visible and verifiable manner."
The four parties accused North Korea of violating the 1994 agreement, its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and a joint declaration with South Korea on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"North Korea's program threatens international security and undermines the international nonproliferation regime based on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," the KEDO statement said.
North Korea's future relations with the United States, the European Union, South Korea and Japan "hinge on the complete and permanent elimination of its nuclear weapons program," it said.
The meeting of diplomats yesterday apparently produced the consensus sought by the Bush administration on the future of fuel-oil shipments, required under a deal they all help administer.


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