Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



US Upbeat On Korea As North Says Nuke Plant Shutdown Soon
North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye-Gwan, said on Saturday that Pyongyang would not close its nuclear facilities until the United States released all of the 25 million dollars frozen by US sanctions.
North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye-Gwan, said on Saturday that Pyongyang would not close its nuclear facilities until the United States released all of the 25 million dollars frozen by US sanctions.
by Dan Martin
Beijing (AFP) March 18, 2007
Negotiators met Sunday on getting the North Korean nuclear disarmament accord under way amid expectations a key hurdle -- a row over North Korean funds frozen in a Macau bank -- would be cleared. The secretive North had said Saturday that the February 13 deal signed by six countries would not go ahead until about 25 million dollars of its money frozen by US sanctions was released. With the newest round of full six-nation talks resuming in Beijing on Monday to implement the nuclear accord, US envoy Christopher Hill said on Sunday he was confident US plans to finally end the financial dispute would be accepted.

"I think we have a pretty reasonable position that I think meets everyone's interest," Hill told reporters in Beijing before heading into preparatory meetings for the six-party talks.

"I'm pretty confident it's not going to be a problem as we go forward."

South Korea's Yonhap news agency later reported that the financial impasse had been resolved.

The report out of Beijing quoted an unnamed South Korean official as saying there were "no more issues in dispute" and that there was "little possibility the North will object" to US plans for freeing up the funds.

It did not give further details.

The dispute over the money in Macau's Banco Delta Asia is the latest stumbling block in years of negotiations aimed at getting the Stalinist North, which tested its first atom bomb in October last year, to give up its nuclear programmes.

The US Treasury Department announced on Wednesday that it had cleared the way for the release of funds in the bank, but it was unclear whether that applied to all of the money.

Yonhap said the frozen funds were likely to be released before the end of the six-party talks which begin Monday between China, the United States, North and South Korea, Japan and Russia.

North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye-Gwan, said on arrival here Saturday that Pyongyang would not close its nuclear facilities until the United States released all the funds.

But South Korean envoy Chun Yung-woo said North Korea had indicated in talks later that it had begun the preparations to shut down its Yongbyon plant, one of the cornerstones of the disarmament deal.

"It will be for the Macau authorities to decide what to do with the funds, whether to release it or not," US Treasury official Daniel Glaser said after talks Saturday in Macau, a southern Chinese territory.

Glaser was to arrive in the Chinese capital later Sunday for discussions on the financial issue.

"We've resolved the issue from our point of view and now we have to explain it to everyone's satisfaction," Hill said.

The US imposed sanctions on Banco Delta Asia in 2005, suspecting that it was laundering money for North Korea. The sanctions contributed to North Korea abandoning an earlier disarmament deal.

Lifting the sanctions was a key part of last month's deal, under which the North would get badly needed energy aid and other assistance in exchange for eventually shutting down its secretive nuclear programmes.

Hill said he planned to meet with the North Korean delegation on Sunday and with Kim himself on Monday, for talks he expected to focus on denuclearisation, not the bank issue.

earlier related report
NKorea says readying nuclear shutdown
Beijing (AFP) March 17 - North Korea said Saturday that it had begun preparations to shutdown and seal its key Yongbyon atomic reactor in a step toward honouring a landmark nuclear disarmament deal.

Pyongyang was also willing to start moving towards disabling its nuclear facilities but this would depend on how quickly it was rewarded for such actions, South Korean nuclear envoy Chun Yung-woo told reporters in Beijing.

Christopher Hill, the US chief delegate, hailed the statement from the North Koreans, saying it was "balanced and constructive and indicated that they are under way and fulfilling their obligations."

"I think they referred to starting the preparations," he told reporters here. "I don't think they have started to shut down the facilities."

Under a February 13 accord, Pyongyang promised to begin shutting down its nuclear programme within two months in exchange for energy aid and diplomatic concessions.

Hill and Chun were speaking after North Korean officials made the statement at working-level talks, between the six nations involved in the state's nuclear disarmament, ahead of the next round of formal negotiations here Monday.

The US envoy said the negotiations, involving the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia and host China, would last two days.

Progress on the agreement has been hindered by Pyongyang's demands that Washington release some 25 million dollars of North Korean funds frozen in a Macau bank under US financial sanctions.

North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator earlier Saturday said the country would not close its facilities until the United States released all the funds.

"If the United States does not remove all of its restriction on our funds at Banco Delta Asia (BDA), we cannot shut down our nuclear facilities at Yongbyon," Kim Kye-Gwan told reporters on arrival in Beijing.

The US Treasury announced on Wednesday that it had cleared the way for the release of the funds frozen in the Macau-based BDA.

In its ruling, the US Treasury barred US banks from dealing with BDA, an institution it said had laundered money for reclusive North Korea.

But the move now leaves it up to the Macau authorities to decide what to do with the cash after the bank was left in receivership, a US Treasury official said Saturday following talks with authorities in the former Portuguese enclave.

"It will be for the Macau authorities to decide what to do with the funds, whether to release it or not. We did conduct an investigation and hope our investigation will be helpful to their determination," Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Glaser told reporters in Hong Kong before heading to Beijing.

Hill said he was confident that the money would be released into North Korean coffers fast enough to avoid blocking the disarmament process.

"We expect money to be moving very quickly in terms of completing this whole case and finally resolving it," he said.

A pro-Pyongyang newspaper on Friday had hailed US moves to resolve the financial sanctions as a "landmark event," raising hopes for progress in long-running disarmament talks.

Hill said he had not seen Kim on Saturday but expected to meet with him possibly on Sunday when the working group resumes talks on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

UN atomic agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei had said on Friday that he hoped an April 13 deadline could be met for starting to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

ElBaradei told reporters on returning to Vienna after visits to Pyongyang and Beijing that he thought the North Koreans "still would like to see that deadline respected and we still hope to do it by April 13."

"If the financial sanctions are over, then we expect the DPRK (North Korea) to invite us to work out the modalities of monitoring and verification" of North Korea's deal to close and seal its Yongbyon plutonium-producing reactor by April 13, the IAEA director general said.

That would be 60 days after the six-party agreement reached in Beijing on February 13.

earlier related report
US says money won't derail NKorea deal
Beijing (AFP) March 18 - The top US nuclear negotiator said on Sunday he was confident lingering questions about North Korean funds frozen in Macau would not derail six-nation talks on ending Pyongyang's nuclear programmes.

"I think we have a pretty reasonable position that I think that meets everyone's interest, so I'm pretty confident we can resolve that," US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters.

Hill, on his way to a second day of meetings with other envoys, said the US will explain its ideas on a final resolution to the issue of the frozen funds amounting to about 25 million dollars, but offered no details.

"We've resolved the issue from our point of view and now we have to explain it to everyone's satisfaction," Hill said.

The six nations that worked out a landmark pact last month to shut Pyongyang's nuclear programmes are meeting here on implementing the plan, which offers North Korea badly needed energy aid and other assistance.

Progress on the agreement has been hindered by Pyongyang's demands that Washington release the North Korean funds frozen by US financial sanctions on Banco Delta Asia, a bank in the Chinese territory of Macau.

North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator said Saturday the country would not close its facilities until the United States released all the funds.

The US Treasury announced on Wednesday that it had cleared the way for the release of the funds, originally frozen out of concerns that the bank was laundering money for North Korea.

The move now leaves it up to the Macau authorities to decide what to do with the cash after the bank was left in receivership, US Treasury official Daniel Glaser said Saturday after talks with authorities in Macau.

earlier related report
SKorea believes NKorea bank dispute over: report
Seoul (AFP) March 18 - The dispute over North Korean funds frozen in Macau at the centre of negotiations on a nuclear disarmament deal has been resolved, an unnamed South Korean official was quoted saying Sunday.

Yonhap news agency cited the official saying that there were "no more issues in dispute" and that there was "little possibility the North will object" to a US move to free up the funds, the report said. It did not give further details.

The US Treasury said last week that it had cleared the way for the release of the funds, originally frozen by US sanctions due to concerns that the bank was laundering money for North Korea.

The move now leaves it up to the Macau authorities to decide what to do with the cash after the bank was left in receivership, US Treasury official Daniel Glaser said Saturday after talks with authorities in Macau.

Yonhap said the frozen funds, amounting to about 25 million dollars, are likely to be released before the end of the next round of six-party talks, which are set to begin in Beijing Monday.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said earlier that he was confident lingering questions about the funds would not derail the six-nation talks.

"I think we have a pretty reasonable position that I think that meets everyone's interest, so I'm pretty confident we can resolve that," Hill told reporters in Beijing.

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
SpaceDaily
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express







  • Germany Fears US Anti-Missile Shield Could Fuel 'New Arms Race'
  • Growing US Military Concerns For China
  • India Developing News Alliances
  • EU Bickers Over Birthday Card Message

  • Iran Develops New Air Defence System
  • US Upbeat On Korea As North Says Nuke Plant Shutdown Soon
  • Japan Says Solid Security Needed To Counter North Korean Threat
  • South Korea Sceptical On Nuclear Deal

  • Raytheon To Enhance Patriot Global Capabilities Under Pure Fleet Contract
  • Excalibur Completes Final Testing Clearing Path For Early Fielding
  • LockMart Unveils New Four-Mode Guidance Ground Launched Precision Strike Missile
  • New Hellfire-Compatible Guided Rocket Can Defeat Targets In Urban Operations

  • US Missile Scheme Hurts Ties With Russia
  • Russia Will Be Able To Evade US ABM System
  • US Missile Chief Briefs Ukraine On Shield Plans
  • US Missile Defenses Performed Well In North Korea Crisis Claims Boeing

  • Germans Urged To Give Foreign Travel A Rest To Curb Global Warming
  • Raytheon Team Proposes Single International Standard In ADS-B Pursuit
  • NASA Signs Defense Department Agreement
  • Lockheed Martin And FAA Reach Significant Milestone In Transformation Of Flight Services

  • Northrop Grumman Gets 287 Million Dollar Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Systems Contract
  • Boeing Prepares First US Military ScanEagle Crews
  • Israeli Air Force Unveils Long-Range Drone
  • New Technology Expands Air Force Combat Capability

  • US Rogue State U-Turn
  • Iraq Surge Successes And Setbacks
  • Does The Surge Needs Sadr
  • Washington Dodgers

  • Key Phase Of New B-2 Bomber Communication System To Begin
  • Raytheon Mid-Range Munition Projectile Scores Direct Hit Against T-72 Tank
  • Future Combat System Faces Tough Times
  • South Korea Unveils Underwater Tank

  • The contents herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2005 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy statement