North Korea is apparently continuing to work on its nuclear reactors, even though the country has said it is willing to dismantle them, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Thursday in Vienna.
When North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, met South Korean President Moon Jae In in Pyongyang in September, Mr Kim expressed his willingness to take such a step, while adding that this would depend on reciprocal measures by the U.S.
The IAEA, which is watching North Korea via satellites, has observed possible work on the cooling systems of two reactors, IAEA chief, Yukiya Amano, said.
The operating 5-megawatt reactor and an additional reactor that is under construction are part of the Yongbyon nuclear complex, which is suspected of producing fissile material for North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
At a meeting of the IAEA’s governing board, Amano also reported activities “consistent with the fabrication of reactor components” and their transfer into the unfinished reactor.
Amano noted that his agency was unable to confirm its observations unless IAEA inspectors were allowed to visit Yongbyon.
North Korea kicked the inspectors out of the country in April 2009.
North Korea’s denuclearisation process has stalled since Kim met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, when the North Korean leader pledged to halt the nuclear weapons programme in exchange for U.S. concessions.
In spite several rounds of negotiations between leaders and diplomats from North and South Korea and the U.S., there is still no clear timetable for when much of this will happen.