Korea, U.S. agree to extend current nuclear pact by 2 yearsUpdated: 2013-04-25 03:55:53 (KST)
South Korea and the United States will keep the current civilian nuclear accord as it is for another two years.
Seoul's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the current pact, which expires next March, will remain in effect until February 2016, allowing more time for discussions.
"Considering the many complicated technical and detailed issues involved, and the fact that both countries need a certain amount of time for domestic procedures, we had to prevent a situation where the pact expires before it is replaced with a new one."
The extension was agreed upon at a three-day meeting between negotiators from South Korea and the U.S. in Washington last week.
They will meet again in June, and from then on they'll hold regular meetings every three months.
Seoul and Washington have negotiated for over two years to revise the near 40-year-old pact, under which South Korea is banned from reprocessing its spent nuclear fuel or enriching uranium for its commercial nuclear power plants.
Seoul wants Washington to allow it to use a proliferation-resistant technology for enriching uranium and reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, something that Washington is reluctant about due to proliferation concerns.
Some of the key issues discussed at the latest meeting include: the management of spent nuclear fuel, securing a stable supply of nuclear fuel and improving Korea's exports of nuclear reactors.
"Although the two sides failed to reach any new agreement at their latest meeting, an official from Seoul's Foreign Ministry said an extension of the current accord should not be cause for disappointment. He stressed it is important to take more time for the negotiations, because once revised, the pact will be maintained for up to 30 years.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News."
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