North Korea destroyed the most visible symbol of its nuclear weapons program Friday

June 30, 2008

The demolition of the 60-foot-tall cooling tower at the North’s main reactor complex is a response to U.S. concessions after the North delivered a declaration Thursday of its nuclear programs to be dismantled.

“This is a very important step in the disablement process and I think it puts us in a good position to move into the next phase,” said Sung Kim, the U.S. State Department’s top expert on the Koreas who attended the demolition. Kim shook hands with a North Korean official following the tower’s tumble to the ground.

In its first reaction to the developments this week, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry welcomed Washington’s decision to take the country off the U.S. trade and sanctions blacklists.

The declaration does not address the North’s alleged uranium enrichment program or suspicions of its nuclear proliferation to other countries, such as Syria.

“I have lived a long time and am convinced

that God governs in the affairs of men.

If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground

without His notice, is it probable

that an empire can rise without His aid?”

— Benjamin Franklin, 1787

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