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                      Office of the Press Secretary
                    (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)
For Immediate Release                                  August 19, 1997


KEDO and DPRK Groundbreaking

Today in North Korea, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and the DPRK held a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction of the first of two light-water nuclear reactors to be built in North Korea under the terms of the 1994 U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework. Ambassador Paul Cleveland, the U.S. Representative to KEDO's Executive Board and Chairman of the Board, attended the ceremony and delivered a message from President Clinton.

Groundbreaking for the light-water reactor project marks an important milestone in our efforts, in cooperation with the Republic of Korea and Japan, to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, contribute to peace and stability in Northeast Asia, and strengthen the international non-proliferation regime. It also occurs against a backdrop of significant progress in other areas of Agreed Framework implementation. North Korea continues to maintain the freeze on its nuclear facilities, under IAEA monitoring, and is nearing completion of a joint project with the United States to safely store its spent nuclear fuel, which would otherwise be available for the production of weapons-grade plutonium. Moreover, the Agreed Framework continues to provide a foundation for us to discuss issues of bilateral concern with the DPRK and, along with our South Korean and Japanese allies, to engage North Korea in meaningful dialogue and work toward a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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