Two inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency are due to leave North Korea Tuesday, ordered out by the government in a move to restart its nuclear facilities.
The inspectors arrived in Pyongyang Sunday, and are due to fly to Beijing. Their absence from the North Korean nuclear complex at Yongbyon means the international community has no way to monitor the activities there.
In recent weeks, the North has cut protective seals and removed surveillance equipment from the country's main nuclear reactor. Many foreign governments, including North Korean ally, China, have urged Pyongyang to reverse course.
On Monday, a Bush administration spokesman said North Korea will suffer a loss of international aid until it dismantles its nuclear program. He said Pyongyang's actions only serve to further isolate the country from the international community.
South Korea's Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said his government is exploring the possibility of direct talks with North Korea, to help resolve the escalating crisis involving its nuclear program.