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David Clinch: U.S. will deal with N. Korea 'one way or the other'

CNN Senior International Editor David Clinch
CNN Senior International Editor David Clinch

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South Korea has expressed its concern over the decision by North Korea to remove seals and monitoring equipment from one of its nuclear power plants. CNN's Sohn Ji-Ae report
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CNN's Christiane Amanpour talks to Mohamed ElBaradei about possible nuclear facilities in Iran, Iraq and North Korea. (Part 1)
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CNN speaks with Mohamed ElBaradei. (Part 2)
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FACT BOX
North Korea promised to give up its nuclear weapons program and allow inspections to verify that it did not have the material such weapons would require. The country has yet to allow the inspections.

(CNN) -- North Korea began removing seals and monitoring equipment last weekend that were placed by international nuclear inspectors on the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which is capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.

CNN Senior International Editor David Clinch spoke with CNN anchor Catherine Callaway on Monday about the reclusive communist state's actions.

CLINCH: Well, [it is] an incredibly dramatic story, but [it is] surprisingly difficult for us to translate and communicate the drama on this story. North Korea [is] pulling off the seals, yanking off cameras put in place by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], getting ready to get access to nuclear material which will allow them, if they don't already have nuclear weapons, to very soon have nuclear weapons.

This leaves you with a situation where you have North Korea, with one of the most unpredictable leaders, one of the most unpredictable regimes in the world, possessing very soon, again, nuclear weapons, and right next door, tens of thousands of American troops in South Korea.

We forget that sometimes. Talking about troops going to Iraq and elsewhere, tens of thousands of U.S. troops are still in South Korea from the last time there was a war in that peninsula.

A very dramatic story, but again, something which is hard to communicate because we're [able to broadcast] live from Seoul [South Korea], we're live from Washington, but we're not live from the nuclear plant in North Korea.

CALLAWAY: Right.

CLINCH: We can't do that. We can't get in there.

I'm talking to our people in South Korea about how we can dramatize, show the American troops that are there, go up to the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas], do all of these things. We're going to try and do that. We've got to get our people in Washington excited about this story, really looking at why North Korea is being treated differently from Iraq.

CALLAWAY: That's an interesting point you make, though, because these are bold moves by North Korea ... and it's difficult to communicate that in the stories.

CLINCH: It is. Here's an example. We are steps ahead already in terms of what North Korea has done with what they did back in 1994 when President Clinton was in power. He revealed just a few days ago that he had a plan on his desk to destroy their nuclear plants at that time. We're already steps ahead of that.

The U.S. administration is going to deal with this one way or the other. We have to make sure that we're on the story, make sure people understand it and understand how dramatic it is.



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