Top South Korean envoy Chun Yung-woo yesterday urged North Korea to shut down its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon.
"The next step is to shut down the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon under the supervision of the IAEA," Chun was quoted as saying by a South Korean official.
Chun made the remarks at the plenary meeting of the sixth-round six-party talks, which opened in Beijing Monday morning.
Prior to the talks, the US agreed to unfreeze a North Korean bank account at Macao-based Banco Delta Asia (BDA).
The account held by North Korea was frozen in 2005, after the US Treasury Department, suspecting the BDA of helping North Korea launder money, ordered American financial institutions to suspend business ties with the Macao-based bank.
Rejecting the charge, North Korea demanded the US lift the financial sanctions before it could return to the six-party talks, which remained stalled for 13 months since the end of 2005.
All parties are preparing to fulfill their corresponding commitments after the funds are unfrozen and South Korea has pledged to provide energy assistance to North Korea in initial steps to fulfill the September 19 joint statement. Therefore, the next step is to shut down the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, said Chun.
Under a February 13 deal, North Korea will have 60 days to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities in return for energy aid and security pledges.
If the denuclearization will successfully reach the final destination, the most important thing is to remove distrust between related parties and create favorable political environments, said Chun.
(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2007)