Japan Signs $1 Billion Contract To Build North Korea Reactors

TOKYO: Japan has signed a contract to provide $1 billion to an international program to build light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea. The contract was signed May 4 in New York with the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). "Japan hopes that this accord will speed up construction of the light-water reactors in the project and contribute to a stronger trust in the KEDO framework and to peace and stability in the northeast Asian region," the Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement. The agreement followed a decision in October last year by KEDO board members to supply $4.6 billion to build the reactors in North Korea. Japan was asked to pledge $1 billion then. Tokyo suspended the signing of the KEDO financing agreement on Aug. 31, the day North Korea stunned the world by launching a rocket that flew over part of Japan. KEDO, set up in 1995 by South Korea, Japan and the U.S., is to give North Korea two light-water nuclear reactors in exchange for the North's agreement to freeze its nuclear program. In April last year, President Clinton authorized $30 million for the organization. The European Union joined the executive board late last year.

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