North Korea Claims to have Shut Down Its Nuclear Reactor

NoKo said they would shut down their reactor in exchange for oil. The oil arrived today, as did the assurances that the reactor is off line. Of course, we already know what NoKo’s word is worth: nothing. The US is reacting positively, nonetheless:

North Korea told the United States it shut down its nuclear reactor, the State Department said Saturday, hours after a ship cruised into port loaded with oil promised in return for the country’s pledge to disarm.

If confirmed by a U.N. inspection team headed to the Yongbyon reactor, the shutdown would be the North’s first step in nearly five years toward de-nuclearization.

“We welcome this development and look forward to the verification and monitoring of this shutdown by the International Atomic Energy Agency team,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement.

After tortuous negotiations and delays — during which the North argued its nuclear program was needed for self-defense — the reclusive regime said earlier this month that once it received the oil shipment, it would consider halting its reactor.

ABC News reports that the UN’s Inspector Clouseaus have arrived for their inspections:

U.N. inspectors arrived in North Korea on Saturday to monitor the communist country’s long-anticipated promise to scale back its nuclear weapons program, while the top U.S. nuclear envoy said he expected Pyongyang’s reactor to be shut down in a matter of days.

An initial shipment of oil aid arrived hours earlier Saturday, in return for Pyongyang’s pledge to close down its main nuclear reactor. The move would be the North’s first step in nearly five years toward the de-nuclearization of the peninsula.

The 10-member team from the International Atomic Energy Agency was heading directly to Yongbyon, about 60 miles northeast of the capital, to begin monitoring the shutdown.

“We are going directly to the nuclear site at Yongbyon,” IAEA team chief Adel Tolba told broadcaster APTN outside the Pyongyang airport. Footage showed dozens of cardboard boxes being loaded onto the back of two trucks.

Tolba said the team would stay in North Korea as long as needed to complete its work.

How reassuring.

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