North Korea has ordered international monitors at its main nuclear facility to leave the country, following through on its threat to restore a plutonium-enrichment reactor.
The United Nations' nuclear monitoring agency issued a statement Tuesday saying North Korea has asked its inspectors to remove seals from equipment at the Yongbyon facility and leave the country as soon as possible.
Japan's Kyodo news agency cited a U.S. official as saying U.S. monitors also have been expelled.
North Korea's move follows a statement from the United Nations Security Council condemning Pyongyang's launch of a long-range rocket that flew over Japan earlier this month (April 5th).
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is criticizing North Korea's decision to expel the monitors, calling it an "unnecessary response to the legitimate statement" put out by the Security Council. In remarks to reporters Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton said the U.S. hopes it will have an opportunity to discuss the situation with its allies and eventually with North Korea.
North Korea's Foreign Ministry announced earlier Tuesday that Pyongyang plans to restart its nuclear program and drop out of six-nation disarmament talks.