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(2nd LD) IAEA condemns N.K. nuke program, demands concrete steps for denuclearization

All News 16:06 October 01, 2016

(ATTN: CLARIFIES time element in 2nd para; ADDS more details and background from 6th para)

SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. nuclear watchdog has adopted a resolution, condemning North Korea's nuclear weapons program "in the strongest terms" and demanding Pyongyang take "concrete steps" toward denuclearization, foreign ministry here said Saturday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency adopted the resolution unanimously as it wrapped up its general conference in Vienna, according to the ministry. The week-long meeting ended on Friday (local time).

"The latest resolution pointed out the North's resumption of reprocessing activities this year and condemned the North's continued nuclear activities in a stronger manner than last year," the ministry said in a press release.

The IAEA and its members reaffirmed their stance that they will not tolerate the North owning nuclear weapons, while strongly deploring its persistent pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

They also urged the communist state to dismantle all of its nuclear weapons and related programs in compliance with the denuclearization promise made with other six-party negotiation countries in 2005, the ministry said.

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test earlier last month in defiance of multiple global warnings and it came just eight months after its fourth one in January. The latest nuclear warhead detonation test is regarded as the most powerful.

The U.N. Security Council is currently working on a fresh resolution to tighten its squeeze on Pyongyang in blocking money and others that could be used for its development of nuclear weapons.

Some are calling for stronger punitive measures than the resolution adopted right after the fourth nuclear test, mentioning efforts to cover the "loopholes" through which the North is suspected of getting its hands on the necessary money and materials.

In a speech at the IAEA meeting, Kim Hong-kyun, South Korea's top nuclear envoy, called upon the agency to send a "firm" message to the North, raising worries that it is "at the final stage of nuclear weaponization."

The foreign ministry praised the IAEA' strongest ever condemnation, saying that it underlines a consolidated global front against North Korea after its repeated provocations and pursuit of upgrading its nuclear and missile capabilities.


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