15:04 GMT +316 February 2019
Listen Live
    World

    U.S. envoy says satisfied with talks in N. Korea

    World
    Get short URL
    0 01

    U.S. envoy Christopher Hill said Friday he was satisfied with his visit to Pyongyang designed to advance denuclearization talks with North Korea, the Xinghua agency reported.

    BEIJING, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. envoy Christopher Hill said Friday he was satisfied with his visit to Pyongyang designed to advance denuclearization talks with North Korea, the Xinghua agency reported.

    Assistant Secretary of State Hill is the first senior U.S. official to visit the North in about five years. The chief negotiator at the six-nation talks to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program arrived in Pyongyang on a surprise visit Thursday and met with Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun and chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Gwan.

    "We had a good discussion about the way forward at the six-party talks," Hill said, urging further negotiations, adding that it was not immediately clear when the talks - which involve North Korea, the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia - would go ahead. He also said the negotiators needed to make up for the time lost in spring.

    At a breakthrough round of talks in February, North Korea promised to shut down its main, Yongbyon nuclear reactor by mid-April once the U.S. had unblocked $25 million of North Korean funds in a Macao bank.

    North Korea has refused to fulfill its commitment over delays in the transfer of the funds, frozen for almost two years in China over U.S. money counterfeiting and laundering suspicions.

    A Russian government official said Friday the transfer of the money from Macao via a Russian bank would be completed Friday.

    "The transaction is expected to be completed Friday," an official said, dismissing Japanese media reports Tuesday that the funds had reached North Korea's accounts.

    Thursday, a top Russian diplomat said the transfer via a Russian bank in the Far East was going ahead.

    "All necessary arrangements have been made, and all safeguards provided," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said, adding that the money was being transferred "as we speak."

    As a second phase of the six-nation deal, Pyongyang - which conducted its first nuclear bomb tests last October - is expected to provide the negotiators with a list of all its nuclear facilities for their eventual closure.

    Hill said earlier the next round of six-nation talks could take place in early July.