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Nuclear Stand-Down Can Be Completed in Months Says North

Nuclear Stand-Down Can Be Completed in Months Says North

Posted March. 21, 2007 07:12,   


It was disclosed on March 20 that North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Kwan, the chief envoy to the six-party talks, said at the N.K.-U.S. bilateral conference held early this month in New York, “The disablement of nuclear facilities could be completed within several months.”

The U.S. chief envoy to the six party talks who met Vice Foreign Minister Kim at that time in New York recently revealed as well that they agreed the next step of shutting down the North’s nuclear facilities would come “within months, not years.”

Chun Yung-woo, the South Korean chief envoy and special representative for the Korean peninsula and peace and security affairs of the ROK in the ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, also said, “North Korea has no intention of prolonging the disablement process. They are talking in terms of months.”

In case the North’s nuclear facilities are shut down by April 13 in compliance with the 2-13 agreement reached at the six-party talks, and the disablement process is completed within several months, it is possible that discussions for the removal of the nuclear facilities may start before the end of the year.

It was revealed, however, that North Korea and other parties to the talks failed to come to an agreement on the method of disablement during the six-party and working group conferences held in Beijing since last week.

South Korea and the U.S. want the North to disable its nuclear facilities for the long term by removing core parts from its atomic reactors and nuclear reprocessing facilities, but North Korea has not agreed to this.

A reliable source from the foreign affairs office said, “It is unclear whether an agreement can be reached on the method of disablement by March 21 when the conferences closes.”

Meanwhile, the Yonhap News Agency reported that the government of Macao plans to transfer frozen North Korean funds worth $25 million to the account of a North Korean shipbuilding company at the Bank of China in Beijing.

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