Washington wants to verify that disarmament is underway, but Pyongyang says that further inspections would undermine its sovereignty.
North Korea threatened Tuesday to renew its nuclear weapons program. Pyongyang says that the United States has reneged on its promise to remove North Korea from the state sponsors of terrorism list, while Washington responded that it wants independent verification of the country's nuclear disarmament. North Korea also announced this week that it "suspended disabling" its nuclear facilities on Aug. 14.
The announcement escalates tensions and threatens to throw the six-party disarmament talks with North Korea and its neighbors into disarray. It comes just two months after the government demolished the cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear facility, hidden in a mountain range 60 miles north of the capital, before a crowd of international journalists.
That move was meant to dramatically demonstrate Pyongyang's commitment to the talks, which has now been called into question.
The June demolition of the cooling tower was accompanied by the release of details about North Korea's plutonium program, and the US rewarded North Korea for that with promises to remove the country from the state sponsors of terrorism list and drop some trade sanctions, reports The Washington Post.
Since then, the US has been slow to follow through. It says it will not drop North Korea from the list until it allows outside experts into its facilities to catalogue the scope of its nuclear activities and verify the disarmament progress.
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