U.S. presses Seoul to halt nuclear energy assistance to North Korea

Geostrategy Intelligence

Week of July 8, 2003

The Bush administration is pushing South Korea to halt all assistance to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) project in North Korea.

Until last year KEDO was involved in constructing two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea as part of the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework.

The State Department appealed to South Korea's government to halt all support including the provision of parts.

Seoul does not want to completely abandon the reactor project, hoping that there will be a resolution to the current nuclear crisis. But the Bush administration is adamant that KEDO construction be halted completely.

South Korea has agreed to pay $3 billon of the $5 billion cost for the project.

Washington objects to the providing of water supply tanks. These are key components of the nuclear plants and without U.S. approval the tanks cannot be shipped.

The entire project is expected to be halted in August, at the request of Washington.