November 13, 2008

N. Korean Nuclear Sites Samples Sought

The United States says verification of North Korea's earlier nuclear activities must include samples taken from its nuclear sites.

U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the Communist country must permit international inspectors to take such samples, CNN reported.

"We want to do what we can with our other six-party allies to make sure that the North adheres to what it agreed to do," Wood was quoted as saying.

Besides and the United States and North Korea, others nations involved in the effort to denuclearize the Communist country are China, Russia, Japan and South Korea.

There have been reports North Korea is restricting international inspectors' access to its nuclear sites other than its main Yongbyon nuclear complex but CNN said Wood would not confirm them.

These reports have said even at Yongbyon the inspectors are not allowed to take samples.

North Korea reportedly has insisted that inspections will be allowed only after getting all of the 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil promised it in the six-party talks, the report said. By December, the country was expected to have received half that amount.

The United States already has removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in return for Pyongyang agreeing to a "verification protocol," which Wood said includes sample taking, the report said.