Mon, Jul 02, 2007 - Page 5 News List

N Korea accuses South and US of spy plane missions

OVER ITS TERRITORY Pyongyang has issued a report on alleged spying which it denounces as preparations to invade despite repeated denials


Pyongyang accused the US and South Korea of conducting at least 1,100 spy plane missions over its territory in the first half of this year, official media said.

They carried out more than 170 flights last month alone, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Saturday.

North Korea has issued a monthly report on alleged US and South Korean spy plane missions which it denounces as preparations to invade the country despite repeated denials from Washington and Seoul.

The two Koreas, despite recent peace initiatives aimed at ending enmity dating back to the Korean War, still remain technically at war as the conflict was ended in an armistice not a peace treaty.

KCNA said the US had mobilized such reconnaissance planes as the U-2, RC-135, E-3, EP-3, RC-7B and RC-12 to spy on the North while South Korea has also used RC-800 and RF-4C aircraft for the spy missions.

Meanwhile, the six governments involved in talks aimed at a non-nuclear North Korea should meet to work out the details of Pyongyang's promised shutdown of a plutonium-producing reactor, a UN official said.

"The next logical step is that they talk with each other and agree on technical arrangements," now that Pyongyang has agreed on measures to monitor and verify the process, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Deputy Director Olli Heinonen said.

Heinonen spoke on Saturday upon arrival in Beijing following a five-day visit to North Korea, where he and other agency officials worked out a basic agreement on Friday with Pyongyang on how to verify a shutdown of the reactor.

In February, North Korea pledged to shut down and disable the 5-megawatt reactor, which can produce enough plutonium to manufacture one nuclear bomb a year, in exchange for economic aid and political concessions.

Pyongyang negotiated the deal with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the US -- its partners in the six-party forum created in 2003 and meant to check the North's nuclear ambitions.

The efforts took on added urgency after Pyongyang carried out its first atomic test explosion last October.

South Korea said on Saturday it will send its first shipment of heavy fuel oil, promised to the North as part of the deal, within two weeks.

South Korea will "do its best to complete" the total aid delivery within 20 days of the first shipment, the Unification Ministry said in a statement.

Heinonen reiterated to reporters in Beijing on Saturday the IAEA and the North "reached an understanding on how we are going to monitor the sealing and shutting down of the Yongbyon facility."

The visit by Heinonen and three other agency officials included the UN nuclear watchdog's first trip to the Yongbyon reactor since inspectors were expelled from the country in 2002.

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