Korean reactor 'shutting down'

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The Independent Online

Japan may bear some costs for the disablement of North Korea's nuclear facilities, a news report has said.

Kyodo News agency quoted Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura as saying: "We will have to consider" sharing the burden of the disabling costs.

The report came after a team of US experts arrived at North Korea's sole functioning nuclear reactor to begin work on disabling the facilities.

North Korea shut down the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon in July, and promised to disable it by year's end in exchange for energy aid and political concessions from other members of talks on its nuclear program: the US, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

But Japan has refused to provide such aid unless Pyongyang accounts for its abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 80s — a main sticking point for the two countries, which have no diplomatic ties.

Disabling the reactor at Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, would mark a further breakthrough in efforts to persuade the North to scale back its nuclear program. The country conducted its first-ever nuclear test in October of last year.