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US to Resolve Financial Issue with North Korea Within 30 Days
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The United States has agreed to resolve the issue of financial sanctions against North Korea within 30 days, said Christopher Hill, chief US negotiator to the six-party talks, on Tuesday evening.

"We told the other parties in the talks that we will resolve the matter of the sanctions regarding the BDA (Banco Delta Asia) within 30 days," Hill told reporters when he returned to his hotel from the six-party talks which ended Tuesday with a joint document.

"We have some ideas about how to proceed with that," he added.

The financial sanctions are one of the key factors that have stalled the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Hill said he would leave Beijing tomorrow morning and would invite the head of the North Korea delegation to the six-party talks Kim Kye-Gwan to New York for bilateral meeting on normalization of relations.

Hill said he was pleased with the newly reached joint document, saying the document was "a very solid step forward" and "the first step on the implementation of the September statement because we are moving out the pages of the September statement onto the ground."

But he also said the parties obviously had a long way to go, adding that the agreement on initial actions was not the end of the whole denuclearization process, but the end of the beginning of the process.

Hill said the first undertaking was to shut down and seal the Yongbyon reactor, close the nuclear complex and allow the return of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors.

When asked to comment on the differences of the 1994 agreed framework and the current inked joint document, Hill said the two deals were in different eras.

On the working groups to be established, Hill said two of the working groups were of great interest to the United States, namely the groups on normalization of US-North Korea relations and North Korea-Japan relations.

He said the United States and North Korea had not designated the heads for their bilateral working groups, and the working group will determine to what level and when to meet.

The working group on energy cooperation might be at more technical level instead of deputy or ministerial level, and the group would work on modalities of the shipments of fuel oil to North Korea at the initial phase and the following phases.

On the 60-day period for initial actions, Hill said, "that's going to be a very fast pace", adding that "as the initial actions proceed, we can build up momentum."

Hill noted that the parties would not rest until they complete the job.

According to Hill, four countries, including Russia, China, the United States and South Korea agreed to provide economic, energy and humanitarian assistance to North Korea, and he also expressed his hope for the participation by Japan and other members of the international community.

Hill spoke highly of the six-party talks mechanism, saying it created a mechanism to address comprehensively the issues in Northeast Asia.

"How far they (North Korea) are willing to move in what pace, time will tell." Hill added.

(Xinhua News Agency February 14, 2007)

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