Thursday, August 09, 2007

North Korea willing to disarm even if aid takes time?

North Korea is willing to move quickly on its nuclear disarmament even if it has to wait for foreign oil aid, an official said Wednesday, in a rare sign of flexibility in negotiations.

"Even if North Korea's denuclearization proceeds faster than the reciprocating economic and energy aid measures, North Korea is willing to agree, based on the principle of mutual trust," South Korea's deputy nuclear envoy, Lim Sung-nam, told reporters after two days of working talks with Pyongyang.

The North's long-standing demand of simultaneous "action for action" in abandoning its nuclear programs had threatened to stall disarmament progress.

North Korea is to receive the equivalent of 950,000 tons of oil for declaring all its nuclear programs and disabling its facilities. However North Korea has limited facilities for receiving oil, meaning that the deliveries would drag on for many months. However, the U.S. has said it wants North Korea to complete the next step of its disarmament by the end of the year, prompting discussions on alternatives for oil aid such as helping to rebuild the North's infrastructure.

At Wednesday's talks, the North also requested machines and raw materials to repair power plants, Lim said.


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