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North Korea Says it Wants Reactor Before Dismantling Nuclear Weapons

North Korea says it will not dismantle its nuclear weapons program until it is provided with a light-water nuclear reactor for its energy needs.

The statement was carried by North Korea's state-run media early Tuesday.

In Washington, a State Department spokesman said the North's demand was not in line with the agreement it signed Monday in Beijing. And Japan's Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura was quoted as calling the North Korean demand "unacceptable."

It was not immediately clear if Pyongyang was backing away from its pledge Monday to give up its nuclear weapons.

President Bush had welcomed the North Korean pledge, but stressed that verifying compliance would be crucial.

North Korea said it would allow inspections of its nuclear facilities in return for energy aid, economic cooperation and security assurances. North Korea, the United States and four other countries agreed in Beijing to discuss at an unspecified time providing Pyongyang a light-water reactor for civilian use.

Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters.