Six nations start talks on North Korea energy aid

RIA Novosti

Tokyo : Experts from six nations gathered near the border between North and South Korea Tuesday to discuss details for aid to Pyongyang in return for ending its nuclear programs, Japan’s Kyodo agency reported.

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The two-day talks taking place at the truce village of Panmunjeom are expected to address details for shipping and storage of 950,000 tonnes of heavy oil or equivalent aid to the North Korea, which is known to have a storage facility for only 200,000 tonnes annually, the agency said.

Yonhap quoted a South Korean diplomat as saying that the goal of the talks “is to set up one of the two pillars of denuclearisation, but it will not be easy to come up with a complete action plan in just two days”.

The diplomat also said as quoted by the South Korean agency that the other pillar was complete disablement of the North Korea’s nuclear facilities within a year.

Pyongyang has already received 50,000 metric tonnes of oil for shutting down its only operating nuclear reactor in July and letting UN weapons inspectors verify the closure, which is the first phase of the groundbreaking deal with the other five nuclear negotiators, the US, China, South Korea, Russia and Japan.

As the second phase, which envisions a further 950,000 metric tonnes of fuel and other incentives, the Communist state is to declare all its nuclear facilities, including those dealing with nuclear weapons production.

A separate working group, on nuclear disarmament, will meet next week for two days in Shenyang in China, Yonhap said.

Russia’s nuclear negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov, said Monday that all the five groups, including one to improve relations of North Korea with the US and Japan and on security and cooperation in northeast Asia, would hold meetings in August.

Security experts will gather in Moscow August 21-22 as ministerial talks are expected to take place in September.