US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, has arrived in Seoul, expressing hope that a weekend deadline for North Korea to shut down its atomic reactor could still be met. Hill said it was an important week in negotiations. “Let’s see. I mean we have got a few more days. Let’s see how we do in the next couple of days. Obviously, it is a very important week and I would say a crucial couple of days,” said Hill at Seoul airport.
Macau authorities are set to release around 18 million euros of North Korean funds held at Banco Delta Asia tomorrow. This was previously the sticking point in talks. Japan has announced an extension of its sanctions on North Korea for six further months, as doubt over Saturday’s deadline remains, including the ban on North Korean imports and closing ports to North Korean ships.
In a landmark agreement on February 13, North Korea agreed to shut down its main nuclear plant within 60 days, in return for energy aid and other incentives from partners in the talks – the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.