The six parties began a new round of talks over the Korean
Peninsula nuclear issue in Beijing yesterday with North Korea and
the US resolving the issue of US$25-million funds frozen in a bank
"We are still faced with a lot of difficulties and obstacles on
the road ahead," top Chinese envoy Wu Dawei said in his opening
address before the closed-door talks in the Diaoyutai State
As the chair of the six-party talks, Wu said the session would
review the progress of five related work group meetings and discuss
the specific steps for North Korea to shut down its Yongbyon
Wu called on all parties to take part in the talks with "a
flexible, pragmatic and constructive approach and make positive
"The current session will run about three days," Wu said.
Earlier on Monday, the US Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary
Daniel Glaser said the US and North Korea had reached an
understanding on the issue of frozen funds.
"North Korea has proposed the transfer of the US$25-million
funds frozen in the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) into an account held by
North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank at the Bank of China in Beijing,"
"We believe this resolves the issue of the North Korea-related
frozen funds," he concluded.
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 the last round of
talks in Beijing on February 13, the US agreed to settle the
financial dispute with North Korea within 30 days.
"North Korea will shut down its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon
if its funds are fully released," top North Korean envoy Kim
Kye-gwan told the chief envoys' meeting on Monday morning.
"With the BDA issue resolved, there should be no major obstacles
to implementing the measures to shut down North Korea's nuclear
facilities within the 60-day deadline," said top South Korean envoy
"I think tomorrow the focus will turn to the completion of the
tasks within the 60 days," chief US envoy Christopher Hill said at
his hotel on Monday evening.
Hill also said that North Korea needed to do more to address its
relationship with Japan.
A Japan-North Korea meeting took place in Hanoi early March
without achieving any breakthrough in resolving outstanding issues
preventing the two countries from normalizing relations.
Japan's envoy Kenichiro Sasae said in the chief envoys' meeting
that Japan would try to implement the initial steps quickly, adding
that parties should start thinking about measures in the second
(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2007)