IAEA gearing up for verification work on N.K. nukes: Yonhap

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-11-26 15:34 Updated : 2018-11-26 15:34
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[AP / Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has continued preparations for an "essential role" in the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula, encouraged by a round of recent talks involving Pyongyang, a senior agency official said Monday.

"Regarding the DPRK nuclear issue ... we have intensified our effort since last year to announce the agency's readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK (North Korea) nuclear program if the political agreement is reached among countries concerned," Massimo Aparo, the head of the IAEA department of safeguards, said at a regular consultative meeting between the global organization and the South Korean government.

He attended the session here, joined by Seoul's Deputy Foreign Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs Kang Jeong-sik, to address bilateral cooperation and the North Korea issue.

Aparo emphasized the importance of partnerships with South Korea. "The ROK is a very important partner for the agency not only in the safeguard affairs but in all areas of our work for the peaceful use of nuclear technology," he said, using the initialism for South Korea's formal name, the Republic of Korea.

Kang took note of the timing of this week's consultations, citing three inter-Korean summit talks and an unprecedented meeting between the leaders of the U.S. and North Korea earlier this year, as well as follow-up negotiations. "At this political juncture, high-level policy consultations with the IAEA, which is the international organization specialized in inspections and verification has great significance," he said.