ACCESSION NUMBER:276355 FILE ID:EPF110 DATE:04/05/93 TITLE:COMMENTS AND BACKGROUND ON IAEA ACTION ON NORTH KOREA (04/05/93) TEXT:*93040510.EPF *EPF110 04/05/93 * COMMENTS AND BACKGROUND ON IAEA ACTION ON NORTH KOREA (Text: Arms Control Association Press Release) (460) Following is text of ACA's release of April 1: (begin text) The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors ruled today that North Korea is in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement with the agency by refusing to permit special inspections at two suspected nuclear waste sites in North Korea and referred the issue to the U.N. Security Council for action. In response to the development, Spurgeon Keeny, president of the Arms Control Association said, "The IAEA has served the international community well in North Korea. Now the Security Council should use its influence and enforcement powers to remedy the noncompliance problem with the goals of keeping North Korea in the NPT and maintaining the integrity of the IAEA safeguards system. Today's ruling underscores the critical role the IAEA fills in international efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons through the diversion of safeguarded peaceful nuclear materials. Drawing on lessons learned in Iraq after the Gulf War, the agency used its safeguards experience in combination with intelligence information from member states to alert the international community to possible diversions of safeguarded fissionable materials." The 35-member Board's action, which was the agency's first noncompliance ruling against a member of the NPT, came after the expiration on March 31 of an IAEA-imposed deadline for North Korea to allow the special inspections. In response to the imposition of the deadline, North Korea had announced on March 12 its intention to withdraw from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which requires non-nuclear-weapon member states to accept comprehensive IAEA safeguards on their nuclear programs. North Korea's withdrawal from the NPT, which will become effective three months after Pyongyang notifies the U.N. Security Council and all other NPT members, would make it the first state to withdraw from the NPT, which currently has 157 members. The special inspections of the two suspected nuclear waste storage sites were originally requested by IAEA Director General Hans Blix on February 9 to resolve discrepancies in North Korea's declarations on earlier plutonium production. The problem was discovered in the analysis of samples collected by IAEA personnel during a routine on-site inspection. The storage sites, which North Korea had attempted to camouflage, were discovered by U.S. intelligence. The IAEA Board's finding did not include a finding that North Korea had violated its NPT obligation not to acquire nuclear weapons. An advance copy of an editorial on the role of the IAEA in nonproliferation efforts, which will appear in the next issue of Arms Control Today, follows. Additional information on these developments is available from the Association. (end text) NNNN .