N. Korea Said Ready to Close Reactor in July

Pariah set to come in from the nuclear cold
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2007 7:43 AM CDT
A South Korean man looks on a picture showing the 2000 South and North Korean summit meeting by then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, left, and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il, right, at a venue for...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – North Korea will close down its main nuclear reactor as early as next month, Reuters reports, citing Russia's Interfax news agency. UN  nuclear inspectors have been invited into the country; now a diplomatic source tell Interfax that inspectors will be present as the Yongbyon reactor, which produces weapons-grade plutonium, begins to shut down in late July.

The month-long process of sealing the plant fulfills part of a February agreement to move towards a shut-down in exchange for international aid. The aid that would follow  denuclearization could start with 50,000 tons of oil to be furnished by South Korea; more talks are expected after the plant is closed.