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U.N. verifies closure of North Korean nuclear facilities

  • Story Highlights
  • U.N. verifies North Korea has closed all five of its major nuclear facilities
  • Shutdown is a milestone in efforts to end N. Korea's nuclear weapons programs
  • Negotiators gathered in Beijing for six-party talks on N. Korea's nuclear weapons
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(CNN) -- United Nations inspectors have confirmed that North Korea has closed all of its nuclear facilities at its Yongbyon nuclear complex, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency told reporters Wednesday.

The report came as negotiators met in Beijing for the latest round of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear talks.

The participants are the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

"We now verified that all five nuclear facilities has been shut down and that appropriate measures have been put in place including sealing some of these facilities," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"We expect that in the next few weeks we will continue to apply necessary monitoring and verification measures, so all the five facility right now are shut down and we verified that."

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Earlier in the week, the nuclear watchdog verified North Korea's shutdown of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

The other nuclear facilities at the site include a spent fuel reprocessing facility, a fuel fabrication plant, a radio-chemical laboratory and a reactor under construction.

U.N. inspectors must still seal the nuclear facilities and install closed-circuit TV to monitor them.

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As part of an agreement struck in February, North Korea agreed to begin closing down its Yongbyon reactor -- a crucial first step towards ending the secretive regime's atomic arms program -- in exchange for $300 million in energy and financial aid.

The framework for that agreement was laid out in September 2005. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Sohn Jie-Ae in Seoul contributed to this report.

All About North KoreaYongbyonNuclear Proliferation

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