American envoy Christopher Hill has returned from talks in Pyongyang in an upbeat mood about a possible solution to the dispute over North Korea’s nuclear programme. He said the North Koreans were ready to disable their nuclear reactor and live up to pledges made in a disarmament agreement in February.
It comes after an impasse over North Korean funds frozen in a bank in Macau was resolved. Pyonyang had refused to honour the February agreement until the money – some 18 million euros – was released. It was expected to arrive in a Russian bank in the far east on Friday. If it does not there could be further delays to the dismantling process.
Another incentive on the table is an offer of huge quantities of aid for the impoverished communist state. It is thought the next round of six-party talks will take place next month.