Friday, June 27, 2008

Report: North Korea destroys reactor tower

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) North Korea destroyed the most visible symbol of its nuclear weapons program Friday, according to a news report, in a sign of its commitment to stop making plutonium for atomic bombs.

The reported demolition of the 60-foot-tall cooling tower at its main reactor complex was a gesture in response to U.S. concessions granted after the North delivered a declaration Thursday of its nuclear programs under an agreement at international arms talks.

South Korean TV network MBC said the reactor blast occurred shortly after 4 p.m. local time before an audience of international TV cameras. There were no other immediate details.

The symbolic explosion came just 20 months after Pyongyang shocked the world by detonating a nuclear bomb in an underground test to confirm its status as an atomic power. The nuclear blast spurred an about-face in the U.S. hard-line policy against Pyongyang, leading to the North's first steps to scale back its nuclear weapons development since the reactor became operational in 1986.

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