WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States says its experts working at a North Korean nuclear plant have been asked to leave the country.
State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters Wednesday that the U.S. officials who had been helping the North disable the Yongbyon nuclear plant are now making preparations to leave.
The expulsions come amid North Korean fury at international condemnation of its rocket launch earlier this month.
Wood says the expulsion is "a step backward" and further isolates the country from the outside world. He says "the North is going to have to deal with the consequences of such decisions."
A diplomat close to the International Atomic Energy Agency says North Korea has also expelled IAEA inspectors from Yongbyon. The diplomat spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to release the information.