The six parties, namely China, the US, Russia, Japan, North and
South Korea, started their sixth round of negotiation over the
Korean Peninsula nuclear issue in Beijing Monday morning
after North Korea and the US reached an understanding on a
frozen fund issue.
The US agreed to transfer the North Korea-related frozen fund at
Macao-based Banco Delta Asia (BDA) to a Chinese bank in Beijing,
said US Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Daniel Glaser Monday
morning before the nuclear talks started.
"We have assurances the funds are going to be transferred to a
bank in Beijing to be used for humanitarian and educational
purposes," said Glaser in a statement.
North Korea has proposed the transfer of the roughly US$25
million into an account held by its Foreign Trade Bank at the Bank
of China in Beijing, the statement said.
In September 2005, 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, which subsequently froze the US dollar accounts
held by North Korea.
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.
As part of the nuclear deal reached during last round talks in
Beijing on February 13, the US agreed to settle the financial
dispute with North Korea within 30 days.
North Korea has pledged, within the framework of the six-party
talks, that these funds will be used solely for the well-being of
its people, including for the humanitarian and educational
purposes, according to the statement.
"We believe this resolves the issue of the North Korea-related
frozen funds," Glaser said.
China's chief negotiator Wu Dawei said at the opening ceremony
of the nuclear talks that based on the agreements the concerned
parties have reached, this meeting will focus on three issues.
"The first is to listen to the reports of all working groups;
the second is to discuss the specific steps for the implementation
of the initial actions; the third is to carry out preliminary
discussion about the steps or actions that all parties are prepared
to take or should take in the next phase," Wu said.
However, Wu said there are still a lot of difficulties and
obstacles on the way ahead.
As the chair of the meeting, Wu said he sincerely hopes that
"all sides will continue to take part in all the meetings with a
flexible, pragmatic and constructive approach and make positive
contribution to the progress of the completion of all agenda items
of this meeting."
"The Chinese delegation will work closely with all other
delegations to work for new progress and achievements of this
meeting," he added.
At the plenary meeting after the opening ceremony, North Korean
chief negotiator Kim Kye-gwan expressed his hope that the six
parties should enhance mutual trust and fulfill respective
obligations in the principles of "commitment-for-commitment and
Kim said that North Korea is prepared to shut down its Yongbyon
nuclear facilities and accept supervision and verification from the
IAEA if the other parties fulfill their commitments as
Chief US negotiator Christopher Hill said since the US and North
Korea have reached an understanding on the frozen fund issue, the
parties now should concentrate on how to implement the initial
steps and fix on roadmap on next-step actions.
Hill said the parties should maintain the sound momentum and
continue to push forward the talks.
(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2007)