The way toward shutting down nuclear facilities in North Korea
has become clearer with the US agreement to unfreeze a North Korean
bank account, top South Korean envoy Chun Yung-woo said yesterday
The sixth round of six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula
nuclear issue started in good atmosphere and all the delegations
expressed their will for substantive results in this round of
multilateral talks, said Chun.
According to Chun, North Korea has expressed its hope to have
in-depth discussions and reach an agreement with other parties on
the measures to be taken after the initial-steps phase.
The declaration and disablement of North Korea's nuclear
facilities will be key topics in the future sessions of the talks,
Chun said delegates to the talks hoped to fix a date for the
meeting of foreign ministers of the six parties, but it depends on
the progress of this round of talks.
South Korea's goal was to set a date and place for the foreign
ministers' meeting, Chun said.
The US agreed yesterday to transfer North Korea's US$25-million
funds frozen at Macao-based Banco Delta Asia (BDA) into the Bank of
China in Beijing, paving the way for progress of the talks.
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.
(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2007)