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North Korean Nuclear Talks Grind To A Halt

(RFE/RL) March 22, 2007 -- Six-party talks over North Korea's nuclear program came to an abrupt halt today.

North Korea's nuclear envoy did not talk to reporters before his sudden departure from Beijing.

A statement by host China said the six countries had agreed to meet again "at the earliest opportunity."

The chief U.S. envoy, Christopher Hill, said efforts to end North Korea's nuclear program remained on schedule despite today's suspension.

The three days of talks stalled after the North Korean envoy refused to continue negotiating until $25 million in frozen funds at a Macau-based bank were released.

The funds were frozen under pressure from the United States, which accuses North Korea of money-laundering and counterfeiting.

Their release was part of a February deal under which North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees. The United States said this week that the funds would be released and transferred to a North Korean account in China.

There has been no official word on what has delayed the transfer.

The six-party talks involve the United States, North and South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan.

(compiled from agency reports)

The Proliferation Threat

The Proliferation Threat

The Arak heavy-water plant in central Iran (Fars)

BENDING THE RULES. Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, told an RFE/RL-Radio Free Asia briefing on January 9 that the West is hamstrung in dealing with Iran and North Korea because of the way it has interpreted the international nonproliferation regime to benefit friendly countries like India and Japan.


Listen to the entire briefing (about 90 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


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