Senior officials of the United States and Japan had talks on Tuesday with the two sides urging the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to fulfill its promise to shut its major nuclear facility.
"We agreed that we must continue to expect North Korea to immediately fulfill its initial action agreements," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters after talks with her Japanese counterpart Taro Aso, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma.
The DPRK, which failed to shut down its main nuclear reactor by an April 14 deadline as agreed in six-party talks in February, insisted that its 25 million U.S. dollars frozen at Macao-based Banco Delta Asia (BDA) must be returned before closing the Yongbyon nuclear reactor and starting new negotiations.
The United States said in mid-April that it has agreed with other parties to the six-party talks to give the DPRK "a bit more time" to fulfill its promise to shut its major nuclear facility.
The DPRK funds were frozen after the United States blacklisted the Banco Delta Asia bank of Macao in September 2005 for allegedly helping Pyongyang launder money, an allegation the bank has denied. Pyongyang denies the U.S. charges.
Washington and the bank, Banco Delta Asia, said last month that the DPRK's accounts were no longer frozen. ?