April 20, 2009 / 3:58 AM / 9 years ago

IAEA says dialogue only way forward for North Korea

BEIJING (Reuters) - International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Monday called for new dialogue to solve the diplomatic stand-off with North Korea, adding that he hopes the six-party talks will resume and the IAEA will be allowed back into the country.

<p>North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (C) visits the newly built Ryongwon power plant in North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's official news agency KCNA April 18, 2009. North Korea made a rare proposal on Saturday for talks with the South over a joint industrial park just north of the border where the communist state has been holding a South Korean worker captive for weeks. REUTERS/KCNA QUALITY FROM SOURCE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS</p>

“There is no other solution apart from dialogue,” ElBaradei said at a conference on nuclear energy in Beijing. “The only way to resolve these issues is not through flexing muscles ... but to try to engage the root causes.”

Monitors from the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, left North Korea on Thursday after being ordered out by Pyongyang, which has raised regional tensions by saying it will abandon atomic disarmament talks and restart an aged nuclear complex it had agreed to shut in an aid-for-disarmament deal.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket on April 5, saying the action contravened a U.N. ban.

North Korea has said it will revive all its facilities at its Soviet-era Yongbyon nuclear complex, including a reprocessing plant that makes plutonium which can be used for nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang began taking apart the Yongbyon plant more than a year ago as a part of a deal reached in so called six-party talks with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. IAEA inspectors were invited to monitor the moribund plant.

Writing by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie

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