SEOUL, Nov 6 (Reuters) North Korea's first ever steps to roll back a nuclear programme launched about 40 years ago are going well, a US official said today after visiting the North's plutonium-producing atomic complex.
Destitute North Korea struck a deal with regional powers last month to disable its Soviet-era nuclear complex in exchange for aid and an end to its international ostracism.
''I think we are off to a good start,'' US State Department official Sung Kim said at Incheon airport near Seoul, according to a pool report. Kim was with a team of US nuclear specialists who arrived in North Korea last week.
He said there have been steps to reverse the operations at all three of the key facilities -- the North's ageing reactor, a plant that produces nuclear fuel and another that turns spent fuel in arms-grade plutonium.
The deal calls for North Korea to disable these three plants by the end of the year, provide a complete list of its nuclear arms activity as well as account for all its fissile material.
In exchange, the impoverished North will receive 1 million tonnes of heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid. The United States will also move toward taking North Korea off a US terrorism blacklist.
REUTERS ARB DS1401