Russia and China Can Be Involved in Resolving North Korea's Energy Problems

The US and Japanese governments are jointly considering an opportunity of concluding a new agreement with North Korea that would envisage involvement of Russia and China in providing electric energy to the North Korean economy, Japan's newspaper Yomiuri reported on Friday.

In exchange for suspension of its nuclear program Pyongyang will be offered assistance from a new international structure, which will substitute the former Korea Energy Development Organisation /KEDO/ acting under the US aegis, the newspaper reads. Apart from the US, Japan and South Korea, the new structure must involve other countries, including Russia and China.

Moreover, instead of the nuclear power plant using a light-water-moderated reactor North Korea will be offered to build thermal power stations. Besides, fuel oil deliveries to this country will be resumed.

Accordingly, the USA is trying to put an end to all nuclear programs in North Korea. The US fears that waste fuel from the light-water-moderated reactor can be used to produce weapons of mass destruction.

However, KEDO's previous program of building two light-water-moderated reactors in North Korea was aimed at depriving Pyongyang of a possibility to use nuclear technologies for military purposes.

Some experts say that Washington and Tokyo's new ideas make North Korea's economy dependent on the neighbouring countries.

1994 witnessed the signing of a framework agreement between the USA and North Korea in Geneva, which envisaged building of a modern nuclear power plant on the Korean peninsular in exchange for suspension of the reactor, which was being built with the former Soviet Union's assistance in the north of Pyongyang. Since then Washington had been supplying fuel for the North Korean thermal power plants until North Korea announced an intention to resume its nuclear program. The reason was KEDO's failure to fulfill its obligations to commission the first new reactor by 2003. So far the plant site only has a concrete foundation and infrastructure, which has already consumed certain amount of Japan and South Korea's money.

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