OIL SHIPMENT LEAVES SOUTH KOREA FOR NORTH UNDER NUCLEAR AGREEMENT

OIL SHIPMENT LEAVES SOUTH KOREA FOR NORTH UNDER NUCLEAR AGREEMENT

A tanker left South Korea for the communist North on Thursday carrying 20,000 tons of fuel oil as part of a nuclear deal between Pyongyang and Washington.

A spokesman of Yukong Ltd. said the Chinese-registered tanker Wei Shan Hu left the Port of Ulsan, headed for the North Korean Port of Sonbong.Yukong won a contract from the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) to ship 40,000 tons of Bunker-C oil to the North.

The remaining 20,000 tons will be shipped next week.

Under the $4.5 billion deal, Pyongyang will be provided with two light- water nuclear reactors and interim supplies of fuel oil in exchange for shutting down its existing nuclear facilities.

The KEDO consortium was created in March to implement the Geneva accord under which North Korea's plutonium-producing reactor at Yongbyon will be replaced by light-water reactors that cannot easily convert fuel to weapons- grade material.

In January, South Korea's Honam Oil Refinery Co. delivered 50,000 tons of heavy oil to the North, the first consignment of oil promised by the United States under the nuclear deal.

A 10-member KEDO team arrived in North Korea on Tuesday to inspect the site for a possible light-water nuclear power station, South Korean officials said.

The team will spend one week in the North to look at the site at Sinpo on North Korea's east coast to investigate the quality of the earth, water level, environment and other factors.