The us and South Korea are goading North Korea into complying with a provision of a 1994 nuclear agreement which calls for inspections to determine the total weapons-grade material Pyongyang may have produced. South Korean foreign minister Choi Sung-hong recently said the accord -- entitled Agreed Framework -- has reached a critical juncture. While Choi pointed out that it was now essential for North Korea to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) for implementing safeguards, the us warned that the accord may be scrapped if North Korea continued to reject iaea examination of its past nuclear activities.
Under the pact, negotiated by the us, Pyongyang was asked to freeze its nuclear programme. In exchange, the us promised to provide the country with us $5 billion package of heavy oil and two nuclear power reactors that would help meet North Korea's energy generation needs. The first of two reactors scheduled to be built by 2003 has got delayed due to fund crunch and tension on the Korean peninsula.
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