Two Koreas Launch Joint Nuclear Committee

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NORTH and South Korea yesterday inaugurated a joint nuclear control committee but made little headway on the issue of mutual inspection of nuclear sites.

The new committee, formed to work out a specific inspection plan, will meet again April 1 after examining draft proposals, a South Korean spokesman said.

Last Saturday, North and South Korea reached a breakthrough agreement calling for mutual inspection of their nuclear plants within three months, but officials here still fear North Korea is stalling on inspection while it either completes development of weapons or hides unacceptable facilities.

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The accord does not appear to hold the North to a strict schedule and does not mention North Korean sites such as the Yongbyon nuclear complex, which Seoul and its allies believe could be within months of producing nuclear wepaons.

Seoul has repeatedly warned Pyongyang that political and economic relations would be difficult if the North continued to delay inspection of its nuclear plants.

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