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South Korea will send the first shipment of fuel oil to North Korea July 12
South Korea will send the first shipment of fuel oil to North Korea July 12, a Unification Ministry spokesman said Friday. It said the shipment would be 6,200 tons. North Korea said Thursday it is ready to shut down its nuclear reactor once it receives the first shipment of fuel oil to operate its heat and electric power plants. Last week Seoul announced its intention to launch fuel oil deliveries within the next two weeks in a bid to supply Pyongyang with 50,000 metric tons within 20 days. Fuel supplies were a condition for Pyongyang to begin undertaking measures as part of the first stage of its denuclearization. South Korea is expected to deliver 50,000 metric tons of fuel oil first, to be followed by another 950,000 metric tons from the United States, Russia and China. Japan refused to join the assistance program until the problem of its nationals kidnapped by North Korean security services in the 1970s-1980s is solved. The latest reports said Japan also opposed South Korea's intention to launch fuel oil supplies until Pyongyang shuts down its nuclear reactor. Following a senior IAEA official's visit to North Korea, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Friday the country's five nuclear facilities were unlikely to be shut down before late July. Olli Heinonen, IAEA deputy director general and head of the Department of Safeguards, who led a delegation to North Korea last week, said an agreement had been reached with North Korea on establishing an IAEA monitoring operation to stop and seal the reactor. He said participants in the six-nation talks would now have to discuss the timelines. The IAEA said its 35-member board would consider the report on Monitoring and Verification in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and other issues at the next IAEA meeting in Vienna July 9.
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