N. Korea To Shut Down Nuclear Reactor, South Korean Envoy Reports Progress In Six-Party Talks In Beijing

N. Korea To Shut Down Nuclear Reactor, South Korean Envoy Reports Progress In Six-Party Talks In Beijing – CBS News

(AP) North Korea told delegates at nuclear talks on Saturday that it is preparing to shut down its main reactor, South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy said, a key step promised in a landmark disarmament pact.

The apparent progress in implementing last month’s agreement came only hours after North Korea’s lead nuclear envoy said his government would not close its main nuclear facility until all $25 million of its money frozen in a Macau bank, Banco Delta Asia, is released.

“We will not stop our nuclear activity until our funds frozen in the BDA are fully released,” Kim Kye Gwan told reporters as he arrived in Beijing for follow-up meetings on the agreement.

But U.S. Assistant Secretary of States Christopher Hill, the top American envoy, said late Saturday that North Korea was still “fulfilling their obligations.”

The fate of the frozen funds, the result of a blacklisting by U.S. authorities, has become a central issue in the talks. Washington promised to resolve the bank issue as an inducement to North Korea to return to the negotiations, but its solution — an order this past week to U.S. banks to sever ties with the Macau bank — has been criticized by China and left North Korea sending mixed signals.

At one follow-up meeting Saturday, another North Korean diplomat, Kim Song Gi, said North Korea has “begun preparations to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility,” South Korean envoy Chun Yung-woo told reporters afterward.

Kim promised that North Korea will submit a list of its nuclear programs and disable its nuclear facility “as soon as the right conditions are created,” Chun said, without explaining what the conditions were.

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