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IAEA tells S. Korean PM it's ready to verify N.K. denuclearization

All Headlines 11:43 May 26, 2018

VIENNA, May 26 (Yonhap) -- The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has told visiting South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon that the United Nations body will be ready to verify North Korea's denuclearization if relevant countries reach an agreement.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano made the remarks Friday during his meeting with Lee, who arrived in Vienna the previous day for a three-day official visit to Austria.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (L) shakes hands with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Vienna on May 25, 2018. (Yonhap)

Lee also met with Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), in the Austrian capital on the same day.

The chiefs of the IAEA and the CTBTO expressed support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and called for a "political agreement" on the issue.

Amano told Lee that his agency was closely monitoring North Korea's nuclear program situation through satellite photos, while making preparations for verification work in the North.

The IAEA chief ruled out intervening in international politics but vowed not to stand idle as far as the denuclearization of North Korea is concerned.

The agency set up a separate team on North Korea within its secretariat in August last year.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (R) shakes hands with Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, in Vienna on May 25, 2018. (Yonhap)

In response, Lee said: "North Korea's leader may also have an understanding of the verification process as the Panmunjom Declaration calls for a complete denuclearization. The question is how quickly and concretely the concerned parties can reach an agreement."

The prime minister said the recent confusion over the planned North Korea-U.S. summit is regrettable, but he is not pessimistic about the long-term outlook.

In a separate meeting with the CTBTO's chief, Lee appreciated the U.N. organization's efforts to monitor nuclear tests worldwide and maintain lasting peace in the world.

Zerbo said he was impressed by the inter-Korean agreement produced from the April 27 summit between leaders of South and North Korea.

Zerbo stressed the importance of a swift political agreement by the concerned nations on the complete denuclearization of North Korea, while Lee replied North Korea may have a full understanding of the issue.
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