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North Korea has ordered UN nuclear inspectors out of the country
North Korea has ordered UN nuclear inspectors out of the country in protest against criticism of its recent rocket launch, and has pledged to restart work at its Yongbyon reactor, the UN nuclear watchdog said.

The secretive communist state had earlier declared a complete withdrawal from the six-nation talks on its nuclear program. Tuesday's announcements came a day after the United Nations Security Council issued a unanimous condemnation of the North's April 5 rocket launch, and demanded that existing sanctions be enforced. (VIDEO)

International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Marc Vidricaire told reporters in Vienna on Tuesday: "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has today informed IAEA inspectors in the Yongbyon facility that it is immediately ceasing all cooperation with the IAEA."

"It has requested the removal of all containment and surveillance equipment, following which, IAEA inspectors will no longer be provided access to the facility. The inspectors have also been asked to leave the DPRK at the earliest possible time."

The inspectors had been overseeing the deconstruction of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, in line with a February 2007 deal between the six countries involved in talks on the North Korean nuclear problem - the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and North and South Korea.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency said in a statement that the UN decisions were an infringement of its sovereignty, and pledged to "bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defense in every way."

The UN Security Council had said the North's rocket launch contravened a UN resolution passed in late 2006 after Pyongyang's nuclear test, banning nuclear and ballistic activities.

China and Russia used their vetoes to prevent the UN Security Council from passing a harsher resolution against the North, but joined other members in condemning the rocket launch.

Many countries suspect that North Korea's April 5 rocket launch was a test of a long-range missile.

North Korea claimed the rocket, which was launched over Japan, successfully delivered a communications satellite into orbit, but the U.S. and South Korean militaries said all three stages fell into the ocean and that "no object entered orbit."


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