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S. Korea seeks return of reactor gear

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- North Korea isn't cooperating with calls to give back equipment it used in the aborted construction of light-water reactors, South Korean officials say.

South Korea's foreign ministry said Wednesday the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization has not received replies to its demands Pyongyang hand over cranes, excavators and other equipment lent to the North as part of a 1994 agreement, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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Officials say the equipment was lent by KEDO -- an entity jointly created by South Korea, the United States and Japan -- to the North under the Agreed Framework between Pyongyang and Washington for the construction of light-water reactor nuclear power plants. The deal was meant to induce the North to freeze its nuclear weapons activity in return for U.S. promises to provide two non-military nuclear reactors.

But ever since the North abandoned the project in 2006 KEDO has asked for the return of the equipment, worth about $40 million, without success, Yonhap reported.

The South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo cited government sources saying some of the KEDO equipment may have been diverted to military uses.

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