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U.S. Will Accept Oil Supply to NK if it Freezes its Nuclear Program

U.S. Will Accept Oil Supply to NK if it Freezes its Nuclear Program

Posted February. 26, 2004 22:05,   


At the second round of six-nation talks on the North Korea nuclear crisis held on February 26 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, the second step in South Korea’s three-step proposal was a major point of discussion. The second step is to provide North Korea with heavy oil supply if the North freezes its nuclear program.

Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck, South Korea’s top negotiator at the talks, said in a briefing that day, “South Korea has proposed that if North Korea freezes its nuclear activities as the first step toward complete dismantlement, we will provide energy (heavy oil) to the nation. China and Russia has agreed to ‘participate’ and the U.S. and Japan has cited support and understanding for the idea.”

He continued, “The energy will only be provided when North Korea agrees that the nuclear freeze is the beginning of a complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement process of its nuclear program.”

North Korea has expressed its willingness to discuss the dismantlement of its nuclear development through highly enriched uranium (HEU) with the U.S., a major issue at the six-nation talks. However, participating nations agreed to deal with the issue at the working group meetings as North Korea clarified, “We are willing to discuss the issue, but we do not have a HEU project.”

The participants earnestly discussed South Korea’s proposal through bilateral talks after the plenary session. The participants also discussed putting the result of the second round of talks into a joint statement.

Lee hinted that the talks could last longer than the initial round, which took three days, commenting, “The date for the end of the talks has not yet been set.” Meanwhile, Minister Jeong Se-hyun of Unification said at the daily briefing, “We have talked of resuming the heavy oil supply, but the U.S. and North Korea must reach an agreement (in the resolution of the nuclear crisis) to decide who will shoulder the costs and to what extent.”