US and allies suspend future fuel oil shipments to North Korea

By OGJ editors

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 15 -- The US, in conjunction with key European and Asian allies Thursday said it will suspend future fuel oil shipments to North Korea because of a nuclear weapons program dispute.

"Heavy fuel oil deliveries will be suspended beginning with the December shipment," diplomats said. "Future shipments will depend on North Korea's concrete and credible actions to dismantle completely its highly enriched uranium program."

The US provides about 500,000 tonnes of fuel oil each year to North Korea as part of a 1994 international agreement in which North Korea agreed to stop building nuclear reactors that could be used for military purposes. After North Korea last month revealed it had violated the arrangement, the US still agreed to allow a 43,500 tonne shipment to leave port pending discussions with its allies (OGJ Online, 10/23, 2002). US officials said that cargo, which will reach North Korea in a few days, will still be delivered, but no more deliveries will take place until "concrete and credible actions" are taken to dismantle the weapons.

Fuel oil shipments have been organized and paid for by the US under the auspices of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), the international body created to administer the 1994 agreement. Other members include the European Union, South Korea, and Japan.

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