North Korea willing to return to nuclear talks

North Korea is willing to resume international nuclear disarmament talks if the U.S. lifts a freeze on disputed North Korean assets in a Macau bank, the North's top nuclear envoy Kim Kye Gwan said Thursday.

North Korea has refused to restart the talks unless the financial restrictions, imposed on a Macau bank and North Korean companies, are lifted, but Washington has maintained the sanctions are unrelated to the nuclear talks and will stay in place.

The assets total about US$24 million ( Ђ 19.79 million), which Washington says is linked to money laundering and counterfeiting.

"I will go to the negotiating table the moment I seize the assets with my hands," the North's nuclear envoy said in a news conference, hours before he was scheduled to leave Tokyo.

Kim's comments wrap several days of nuclear talks between the six nations trying to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program, reports the AP.


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