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Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

N. Korean disarmament talks extended

March 22, 2007

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— Stalled six-nation talks on the nuclear disarmament of North Korea are being extended for at least a day, Japan's envoy to the negotiations said Wednesday.

The negotiations were supposed to end Wednesday but have made no progress since Monday because of a dispute over $25 million in North Korean funds that were frozen in a Macau bank under pressure from the United States.

U.S. officials announced this week that the money would be transferred to the North Koreans, saying it was up to the Monetary Authority of Macau, a Chinese territory, to release the funds. The authority has refused to say when the money would be released.

Japanese envoy Kenichiro Sasae said that the issue of the North Korean money "has not been completely settled just yet."

Russian envoy Alexander Losyukov told the ITAR-Tass news agency that the Bank of China had refused to accept the transfer because of worries about coming under U.S. financial sanctions. Telephones at the main Beijing branch of the Bank of China rang unanswered Wednesday night.

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