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N. Korea adds new condition to nuke talks

North Korea’s top envoy to six-way talks on its nuclear arms program said on Thursday that Pyongyang would return to the talks if the United States released funds that have been frozen in a Macau-based bank.
/ Source: Reuters

North Korea’s top envoy to six-way talks on its nuclear arms program said on Thursday that Pyongyang would return to the talks if the United States released funds that have been frozen in a Macau-based bank.

“I told them (the U.S. side) the minute we have the funds or I have the funds in my hand I will be at the talks,” North Korean nuclear envoy Kim Kye-gwan told a news conference in Tokyo, where he has been attending a privately sponsored security symposium.

Washington has clamped down on banks that it suspects of assisting Pyongyang in illicit financial activities, including money laundering and counterfeiting U.S. currency.

Kim said: “There is nothing wrong with delaying the resumption of the six-party talks. In the meantime we can make more deterrent.”

Whirlwind diplomatic efforts this week in Tokyo to revive the stalled talks ended without a breakthrough.

The six countries in the nuclear talks agreed in September that North Korea would end all nuclear programs in return for aid and a promise of security and better diplomatic ties.

But the most recent session in November, aimed at compiling a plan to implement that deal, yielded no progress.