Seoul: UN agency to boost efforts to monitor N. Korean nukes

Dec 14, 2022, 3:18 PM | Updated: Dec 15, 2022, 5:52 am

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Rafael Grossi, left, is greeted b...

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Rafael Grossi, left, is greeted by South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. (Jung Yeon-je/Pool Photo via AP)

(Jung Yeon-je/Pool Photo via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Thursday his organization will push to bolster its capacity to verify North Korean nuclear activities and raise international awareness of the urgency of its weapons program.

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, made the comments during his meeting in Seoul with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry. Grossi flew to South Korea on Wednesday for his first trip to the Asian country since he took office in 2019.

During their meeting Thursday, Park appraised what he called IAEA’s persistent efforts to convince North Korea to return to an international nonproliferation regime. Park said South Korea will coordinate with IAEA more closely to try to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization, Park’s ministry said in a statement.

Grossi sad IAEA will keep closely monitoring North Korean nuclear activities. He said IAEA will push to promote member states’ awareness of the seriousness of the North’s nuclear program while trying to strengthen capabilities to verify its nuclear activities, the statement said.

In remarks open to the media at the start of the meeting, Grossi said that “concerns around and about the nuclear program” of North Korea are among “so many important issues” that IAEA and South Korea are working on together.

During a separate meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol earlier Thursday, Grossi said IAEA will make efforts to help curb North Korea’s nuclear program while the South Korean leader called for IAEA’s support for a push for North Korea’s denuclearization, according to Yoon’s office.

Worries about North Korea’s nuclear arsenal have grown in recent months as the country has tested nuclear-capable missiles in a record pace and threatened the preemptive use of nuclear weapons. South Korean and U.S. officials have said for months that North Korea has been ready to perform its first nuclear test in five years.

In late October, Grossi said IAEA also saw preparations for a North Korea nuclear test. He said the test “would be yet another confirmation of a program which is moving full-steam ahead in a way that is incredibly concerning.”

The IAEA has not had access to North Korean nuclear facilities since the country kicked out IAEA inspectors in 2009. The agency has said it uses satellite imagery and open source information to monitor developments in North Korea’s nuclear program.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

3 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

4 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

6 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

6 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

7 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

7 days ago

Seoul: UN agency to boost efforts to monitor N. Korean nukes