South Korea will not provide energy assistance to North Korea
unless it announces when to shut down its nuclear facilities, top
South Korean negotiator Chun Yung-woo said Wednesday afternoon.
Only when North Korea makes clear the timetable on closing the
Yongbyon nuclear facilities and accepts the personnel of the UN's
IAEA will South Korea provide heavy oil to it, said Chun.
Chun made the remarks after having lunch with chief US
negotiator Christopher Hill in a hotel.
According to a February 13 deal, North Korea shall shut down its
nuclear facilities while the other parties shall provide emergency
energy assistance to it and the shipment will commence within the
next 60 days.
The six-party talks, grouping China, the US, Japan, Russia,
North and South Korea, remained stalled on Wednesday after a
delegation heads' meeting, initially scheduled for Tuesday
afternoon, was canceled because of North Korea's refusal to attend
the talks until its frozen funds at a Macao bank are transferred to
its account at a Chinese bank in Beijing.
Chun said Wednesday morning that when to hold chief negotiators'
meeting will be up to the North Korean reaction toward the
settlement of its frozen funds issue.
Chun said the negotiation can only move forward until the
technical problems of the frozen funds are completely settled. So
far he didn't hear any development of the issue.
However, Chun said the talks will wrap up as scheduled on
The US agreed to transfer the funds of US$25 million frozen at
Macao-based Banco Delta Asia (BDA) to a North Korean account at the
Bank of China in Beijing, paving the way for progress of the
But the money has not reached the designated account yet,
according to Chun.
The account held by North Korea at BDA was frozen in 2005, after
the US Treasury Department, suspecting BDA of helping North Korea
launder money, ordered American financial institutions to suspend
business ties with the 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.
(Xinhua News Agency March 21, 2007)