North Korea signals ready to rejoin nuclear talks

Iran Materials 13 April 2006 11:18 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - A high-ranking North Korean diplomat said Thursday the country could rejoin stalled six-party talks on its controversial nuclear program if the United States releases funds frozen in a Macau-based bank, Trend reports.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea's top envoy to the talks, told a news conference: "I told [the United States] I will be at the talks the minute we have the funds back."

Kim said he saw nothing wrong with delaying the resumption of the six-party talks, as it gives the country time "to make more deterrents," an apparent reference to the country's ambitions to build a nuclear arsenal.

All the parties to the talks - which also involve Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan - have arrived in Tokyo for a security conference to exchange opinion and coordinate their positions on the issue, but no dates for a new round of talks has yet been discussed.

At the last round of talks in September 2005, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees, but later refused to rejoin the talks until Washington lifted financial sanctions imposed for the North's alleged involvement in counterfeiting and other illegal activities.