North Korea simply refuses to engage in the six-party talks until it receives $25 million in disputed funds. The disarmament deal struck by Washington and Pyongyang is now being held up by “technical problems.” U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill expressed his frustration: “The problem is, you can’t expect all these large delegations to sit around while it is being sorted out.”
A top North Korean leader on Thursday reaffirmed his nation’s intention to disarm, calling a nuclear-free Korean peninsula the “dying wish” of former dictator Kim Il Sung. Kim Yong Nam, the North’s second-in-command, said his regime “will make efforts to realize” that wish.
North Korea has agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor within 60 days in exchange for either energy or economic aid. The U.S. has also promised to drop North Korea from a list of terrorist states and normalize relations.
The U.S. envoy to the six-party North Korea talks says all parties have reached tentative agreement on a deal, which would, according to previous reports, provide North Korea with energy assistance in exchange for an end to its nuclear program. A final text of the proposal has been distributed for review, and the delegates will meet again Tuesday to consider approving the agreement.