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North Korea allows back nuclear inspectors

They'll be able to monitor the main nuclear complex, but not anywhere else.

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North Korea has agreed to allow United Nations inspectors back into its main nuclear complex at Yongbyon, in response to the United States' decision to remove the North from its list of states sponsoring terrorism.

Inspectors prepared to resume monitoring disablement of the facility Monday after North Korea relayed word of its decision to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna.

The agreement is seen as a compromise in US efforts to get Pyongyang back to disabling its nuclear program. While averting crisis, it leaves the next administration to negotiate on critical elements of the North's nuclear program not covered in the current deal.

"The administration was pushing for a much broader agreement," says Scott Snyder, a senior scholar at the Washington-based Asia Foundation.

The deal says nothing about the right of inspectors to go elsewhere, he points out, including the site of the nuclear test and suspected facilities for research and development on enriched uranium.

"This agreement promises access to all declared facilities based on mutual consent," continues Mr. Snyder, author of a book on negotiating with North Korea. "That's just an agreement to disagree. There's a lot of work for the next administration to ensure denuclearization. What they've done is settle for a certain type of understanding that gives this administration a sense of closure."


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