Jeffrey LewisNorks on Disablement

North Korea has issued a statement
on why it slowed disablement and the hangup with the declaration.

The explanation for the slowdown — North Korea is slowing the unloading of fuel rods from Yongbyon, presumably to take the entire 100 days — is technically plausible and exactly what I surmised last week.

It is not a violation of North Korea’s commitments — unless they miss the 100 day window.

The question of North Korea’s uranium declaration is more difficult, as I have noted, because we do not have a reliable baseline (more) from which to judge the completeness or correctness of the North Korean declaration.

DPRK Foreign Ministry Spokesman on Issue of Implementation of October 3 Agreement

Pyongyang, January 4 (KCNA) — A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK released the following statement Friday as regards the delay in the implementation of the October 3 agreement made at the six-party talks:

It is beyond Dec. 31, 2007, the deadline set in the Oct. 3 agreement.

It is regrettable that points agreed there remain unimplemented except the disablement of the DPRK’s nuclear facilities.

The disablement started early in November last year and all the operations were completed within the “technologically possible scope” as of Dec. 31.

At present, the unloading of spent fuel rods scheduled to be completed in about 100 days is underway as the last process.

However, the delivery of heavy fuel oil and energy-related equipment and materials to the DPRK, commitments of other participating nations, has not been done even 50 per cent.

The schedule for the monthly delivery of heavy fuel oil as well as the delivery of energy-related equipment and materials and relevant technical processes are being steadily delayed.

The U.S. has not honored its commitments to cross the DPRK off the list of “sponsors of terrorism” and stop applying the “Trading with the Enemy Act” against it.

Looking back on what has been done, one may say that the DPRK is going ahead of others in fulfilling its commitment.

As far as the nuclear declaration on which wrong opinion is being built up by some quarters is concerned, the DPRK has done what it should do.

The DPRK worked out a report on the nuclear declaration in November last year and notified the U.S. side of its contents.

It had a sufficient consultation with the U.S. side after receiving a request from it to have further discussion on the contents of the report.

When the U.S. side raised “suspicion” about uranium enrichment, the DPRK allowed it to visit some military facilities in which imported aluminum tubes were used as an exception and offered its samples as requested by it, clarifying with sincerity that the controversial aluminum tubes had nothing to do with the uranium enrichment.

As far as the fiction about nuclear cooperation with Syria is concerned, the DPRK stipulated in the October 3 agreement that “it does not transfer nuclear weapons, technology and knowledge”. This is our answer to this question.

This was also done in line with the prior discussion with the U.S. side.

All facts go to clearly show what is the reason behind the delayed process of the implementation of the October 3 agreement.

Consistent in all agreements reached at the six-party talks including the September 19 joint statement is the principle of “action for action”.

Now that other participating nations delay the fulfillment of their commitments, the DPRK is compelled to adjust the tempo of the disablement of some nuclear facilities on the principle of “action for action.”

The DPRK still hopes that the October 3 agreement can be smoothly implemented should all the participating nations make concerted sincere efforts on the principle of simultaneous action.

[Emphasis mine.]

(Thanks to reader AT.)