Report: N. Korea may shut key reactor

Pyongyang says it would accept UN inspections if conditions were met.

n korea nuclear 88 (photo credit: )
n korea nuclear 88
(photo credit: )
North Korea has told the United States it is willing to shut down a key nuclear reactor and accept UN inspections if certain conditions are met, a news report said Thursday. The North said it could close the five-megawatt reactor in its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon and accept inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the newspaper Hankook Ilbo reported from Washington, citing an unidentified State Department official. The conditions include North Korea's long-standing call for Washington to lift financial restrictions for its alleged currency counterfeiting and money laundering and a demand for energy aid, the newspaper said in its Thursday edition. The communist regime conveyed that position to Washington via China in the course of setting the date to resume six-party talks on its nuclear program, the newspaper said. The nuclear talks, involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States, are scheduled to resume Monday for the first time since November last year. "We have the minimum hope that North Korea will not come (to the nuclear talks) empty-handed," the State Department official was quoted as saying. North Korea has boycotted the nuclear talks in anger over the US financial restrictions, but agreed to return to the negotiating table weeks after conducting its first-ever nuclear test on October 9.