US find 'solution' to North Korea's frozen funds

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US officials say they may have found a way to transfer $25 million (£12.7 million) to North Korea, a move which could restart talks with the Asian nation.

Negotiators are striving to meet deadlines set in the February 13th six-party deal which hopes to see North Korea shut down its nuclear facilities and allow UN inspectors to investigate the sites. As part of the deal, Pyongyang must close its nuclear plant on April 14th.

The six-party meeting, which alongside the US, Japan and North Korea featured China, Russia and neighbouring South Korea, broke down on March 22nd after Pyongyang refused to continue with debate until the frozen assets in a Macau bank account were recovered.

Now the US believes it has found a way forward.

"We have consulted with the interested parties and assured them that there is a potential solution that is consistent with international banking laws," the Reuters news agency quoted state department spokesperson Sean McCormack as saying.

"We have identified a way to potentially implement fully the agreement. That implementation does not involve the United States."

A US treasury spokeswoman also stated the department's "support for [the] release of all funds".

"We stand ready to assist the Macanese authorities in their efforts to release the funds and with all parties to effectuate the North Korean pledge that any money received by them would be used for humanitarian purposes of benefit to the North Korean people," spokeswoman Molly Millerwise told reporters.

Many analysts have criticised the handling of the six-party talks, claiming that North Korea is being rewarded for a fit of temper.

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