North Korea confirms receipt of funds, nuclear shutdown to proceed

Monday, June 25, 2007

North Korea has confirmed that it is in receipt of US$25 million that was frozen at a Macau bank. The funds had become a major sticking point in the ongoing nuclear negotiations. The were frozen at the Macau bank after the United States accused North Korea of money laundering and counterfeiting.

KCNA quoted an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying: "As the funds that had been frozen at Macau's Banco Delta Asia have been transferred as we demanded, the troublesome issue of the frozen funds is finally resolved." He continued, "there will be discussions with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegates June 26 in Pyongyang on shutting down nuclear facilities and inspections and monitoring."

A team from the IAEA arrived in Beijing, China, on their way to Pyongyang for a five-day visit. This will be the first visit by the IAEA since December 2002 when North Korea ejected inspectors.

The head of the team, Olli Heinonen, said "Now we are going to negotiate how to verify and make sure the reactor will be shut down and sealed, so this is the next step on this long trip." The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center is at the heart of the North Korean nuclear program.