§ Mr. Worthington
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent developments concerning the verification of North Korea's nuclear facilities; and what action he is proposing to take.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
North Korea's continued noncompliance with its safeguards agreement is a cause of great concern. North Korea recently completed the removal of all the used fuel rods from its 5 MW nuclear reactor without allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency to verify independently where different rods had been located in the reactor, which prevented the agency 179W from verifying whether plutonium had previously been diverted from the reactor. A further worrying development is North Korea's decision to withdraw from the IAEA, though this does not affect the legality of their safeguards obligations. Action, including possible sanctions, is now being considered by the United Nations Security Council.