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Russia Could Launch Nuclear Project in North Korea — Report

MosNews | September 20, 2005

Russia wants to build a nuclear reactor for North Korea as part of a global plan to offer the reclusive state energy resources in exchange for giving up its nuclear arms programme, a top nuclear official said on Monday, Reuters news agency reported.

Earlier on Monday, North Korea promised to abandon its nuclear arms programme. In return, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China expressed a willingness to provide oil and energy aid as well as security guarantees.

“We build atomic power stations abroad, and Russia can organize a similar project in North Korea,” Alexander Rumyantsev, head of Russia’s Atomic Energy Agency, told Itar-Tass news agency in an interview. “Russia is ready to join the project, and we have the potential and willingness (to do so). We have to work out how we are going to do this first. Diplomats need to agree first, then we’ll get a corresponding order, and we are ready to act, and we are interested.”

Russia, one of the few states to have good ties with both North and South Korea, used to be one of Pyongyang’s main sponsors during Soviet times, but has had no contacts with Pyongyang in the nuclear field since the Soviet collapse.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met its leader, Kim Jong-il, several times. Russia, which shares a tiny border with North Korea, is already at odds with the West over its construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran, accused by the United States of seeking nuclear weapons. Russia sees its huge nuclear potential as one of the most marketable legacies of the Soviet Union and is keen to win new markets in light of growing competition from other global nuclear powers.


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