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No Nuke Freeze, No Energy Aid to North

Posted February. 10, 2007 03:00,   


South Korea and the U.S. decided on Friday to halt energy assistance to North Korea if it does not dismantle its nuclear weapons program by a date to be set during the six-party talks.

This will be included in the draft accord circulated by China after resuming the talks on Thursday according to a diplomatic source.

The draft accord includes a nuclear freeze and shutdown of nuclear facilities in the North. If carried out, the participating countries will supply energy assistance within 2 months of the agreement. Also included are ways to form 4-6 working groups to discuss non-proliferation and energy and economic assistance, normalization of relations between the U.S. and North Korea, Japan and North Korea relations, and security cooperation improvement.

“The timeframe must be taken seriously,” said Christopher Hill to reporters.

Hill reportedly had lunch with North Korea`s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Gye Kwan and discussed ways to link energy assistance and the date for nuclear dismantlement.

“We are cautiously positive,” said Hill after the lunch.

“Some points were agreed upon and some were not. We intend to reach an agreement,” said Kim.

Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Song Min-soon and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are known to have discussed this matter on phone on Thursday.

NBC reported on Thursday that the North is demanding energy assistance worth $100 million along with a normalization of relations with the U.S. and the removal of sanctions.