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SKorea may scrap steel shipment to NKorea: report

South Korea may cancel a shipment of steel to North Korea for power plant repairs in protest at its nuclear test, which sparked international condemnation, a report said on Sunday.

world Updated: May 31, 2009 12:45 IST
AFP

South Korea may cancel a shipment of steel to North Korea for power plant repairs in protest at its nuclear test, which sparked international condemnation, a report said on Sunday.

Seoul is considering auctioning off the steel plates, which have been kept at a state warehouse, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

"We cannot ship steel plates because of North Korea's nuclear test," an unnamed foreign ministry official was quoted as saying.

Under a six-nation agreement in February 2007, the North was promised one million tonnes of heavy fuel oil or equivalent-value aid to repair power stations, in return for disabling its plutonium-producing nuclear plants.

But South Korea delayed the shipment of steel under the deal as the disarmament process broke down.

North Korea withdrew from the six-party talks after the United Nations condemned its April 5 rocket launch and tightened existing sanctions.

The Council has been discussing a new resolution which could impose new sanctions to punish the North for its second nuclear test on May 25.

Pyongyang has further fuelled tensions in the past week by launching six short-range missiles, renouncing the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 and threatening possible attacks on South Korea.

Some analysts believe the North is not interested in further disarmament negotiations unless it is accepted as a nuclear-armed state.

First Published: May 31, 2009 12:44 IST