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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 17, July - August 1997

North Korea-KEDO Signing Ceremony

KEDO Statement

'KEDO to break ground on nuclear project in North Korea,' Statement by the Korean Peninsular Energy Organization (KEDO), 14 August 1997

Full text

"The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) will officially break ground on August 19, 1997 on the light-water reactor project through which it will supply two nuclear reactors to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The groundbreaking ceremony for site preparation will occur at the project site in Kumho, South Hamgyong Province, on the east coast of the DPRK.

The groundbreaking ceremony marks a major milestone in the LWR [light-water reactor] project and follows agreement between KEDO and the DPRK on a Supply Agreement, (December, 1996), six related protocols and 18 additional documents related to the implementation of the project. KEDO has also conducted seven extensive site surveys of the project site.

The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) of the Republic of Korea was selected KEDO's prime contractor for the project in March, 1996. At the height of the LWR project, more than 7,000 people will work at the project site, including several thousand DPRK experts and laborers. In preparation for work which will continue immediately following the groundbreaking ceremony, KEDO has already transported almost 100 experts and workers and 9,000 tons of equipment to the site.

The groundbreaking event underscores KEDO's commitment to fulfill its obligations under the KEDO-DPRK Supply Agreement. The event will be attended by representatives from KEDO's founding members (Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States), the DPRK, most of KEDO's general members (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Finland, Indonesia, and New Zealand) and the Commission of the European Communities."

US Reaction

Statement by the White House Press Secretary, 19 August 1997

Full text

"Today in North Korea, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and the DPRK held a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction of the first of two light-water nuclear reactors to be built in North Korea under the terms of the 1994 US-DPRK Agreed Framework. Ambassador Paul Cleveland, the US Representative to KEDO's Executive Board and Chairman of the Board, attended the ceremony and delivered a message from President Clinton.

Groundbreaking for the light-water reactor project marks an important milestone in our efforts, in cooperation with the Republic of Korea and Japan, to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, contribute to peace and stability in Northeast Asia, and strengthen the international non-proliferation regime. It also occurs against a backdrop of significant progress in other areas of Agreed Framework implementation.

North Korea continues to maintain the freeze on its nuclear facilities, under IAEA monitoring, and is nearing completion of a joint project with the United States to safely store its spent nuclear fuel, which would otherwise be available for the production of weapons-grade plutonium. Moreover, the Agreed Framework continues to provide a foundation for us to discuss issues of bilateral concern with the DPRK and, along with our South Korean and Japanese allies, to engage North Korea in meaningful dialogue and work toward a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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