( RIA Novosti ) - China will host December 11-12 the next round of six-nation working talks on providing Pyongyang with energy aid and economic assistance in exchange for its denuclearization, the Yonhap agency said Monday.
The six-nation talks involve North and South Korea, Russia, the U.S., Japan, and China. North Korea has agreed to disable its main nuclear facilities under a deal signed in October.
In return for its cooperation, North Korea is to receive aid equivalent to one million tons of heavy fuel oil, and the U.S. has promised to remove the country from its blacklist of countries suspected of aiding terrorism.
The upcoming talks in Beijing will discuss mechanisms for providing energy aid and equivalent assistance to North Korea, including a tentative schedule for regular oil fuel deliveries to Pyongyang expected to start in January 2008, Yonhap cited a South Korean Foreign Ministry source as saying.
North Korea has already received a total of 100,000 tons of heavy fuel oil from South Korea and China for shutting down five nuclear facilities earlier in the year under the February 13 aid-for-denuclearization deal.
In October, Pyongyang agreed to disable its key nuclear facilities and submit a complete list of its nuclear programs by the year end in exchange for an additional 950,000 tons of heavy oil, including the 50,000 tons already provided by China, or equivalent assistance.
South Korea earlier announced plans to send over 5,000 tons of steel to North Korea by the end of the year as part of an economic assistance package.
According to sources close to the six-nation talks, Pyongyang has requested that about half of the economic aid it has been promised be given in energy-related equipment, including steel products for modernizing its obsolete electric power plants.
The previous round of talks between the six-nation working officials was held in October in the village of Panmunjom, on the border between the divided Koreas.