Funds frozen in Macao's Banco Delta Asia
(BDA) will be returned to Pyongyang via a Chinese mainland bank, raising hopes
of progress at talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister
Kim Kye-gwan takes his seat before the opening of the sixth round of the
six-party talks on curbing North Korea's nuclear programme, in Beijing
March 19, 2007. North Korea and the United States have resolved a dispute
over $25 million frozen at a Macau bank, U.S. officials said, clearing a
major obstacle to six-party talks on nuclear disarmament that resumed on
The announcement was made by visiting US Treasury Undersecretary Daniel Glaser in Beijing
on Tuesday, March 19 as nuclear envoys met again for a fresh round of the
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has pledged that the
released money, to be deposited into an account held by its Foreign Trade Bank
at Bank of China in Beijing, will be used for humanitarian purposes and
education, said Glaser.
He said details on the timing and procedures for transferring the funds would
be worked out between Pyongyang and monetary regulators in Macao, which said in
a statement yesterday that "the process will be in accordance with the
instructions of the account holders".
The resolution has cleared the way for the ongoing nuclear talks aimed at
pushing forward a landmark February 13 deal that gave the DPRK 60 days to shut
down its Yongbyon nuclear facility in return for economic aid.
Chairing the opening ceremony, Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said this
session, which is scheduled to conclude tomorrow, will focus on reviewing the
progress of five working group meetings held over the past month, discussing
specific steps necessary to meet the April shutdown deadline and begin talking
about what actions should come after it.
He cautioned that despite the positive signs, there was still a long way
ahead, hoping "all the parties take a flexible, pragmatic and constructive
approach to the talks to ensure all agenda items progress smoothly".
The DPRK's chief envoy Kim Kye-gwan reiterated the commitment to maintain a
nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through negotiations, saying Pyongyang is ready to
seal its nuclear program and allow in international nuclear inspectors once the
funds were fully released.
Analysts say though the amount frozen is not really big for Pyongyang, the
closure of the banking issue itself is important for building trust between the
United States and the DPRK.
With the bank agreement reached, US Assistant Secretary
of State Christopher Hill said the Six-Party Talks could focus on implementing
the February deal and drafting the action plan for the next step.