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Fresh round six-party nuclear talks launched
19/3/2007 17:10

The sixth round negotiation of the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue started in Beijing this morning after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States reached an understanding on a frozen fund issue.

The United States agreed to transfer the DPRK-related frozen fund at Macao-based Banco Delta Asia (BDA) to a Chinese bank in Beijing, said U.S. 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.

The DPRK has proposed the transfer of the roughly 25 million U.S. dollars into an account held by DPRK's Foreign Trade Bank at the Bank of China in Beijing, the statement said.

In September 2005, the U.S. Treasury Department, suspecting the BDA of helping the DPRK launder money, ordered American financial institutions to suspend business ties with the Macao-based bank, which subsequently froze the U.S. dollar accounts held by the DPRK government.

Rejecting the charge, the DPRK demanded the U.S. 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 talks in Beijing on Feb. 13, the United States agreed to settle the financial dispute with the DPRK within 30 days.

The DPRK 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 DPRK-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 said.

 Xinhua news