TOKYO - The U.S. envoy to the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program remains hopeful of progress on the issue of transferring frozen funds to North Korea.
Speaking to reporters Monday in Tokyo after meeting the Japanese representative to the talks, Christopher Hill, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said, "We have to see if we can get through this financial issue and we'll know in the next couple of days how we're doing on that," Kyodo news service reported.
The issue concerns the delay in returning $25 million to North Korea. The money was frozen in 2005 after the United States said the Macao bank, where the money is kept, was a "primary money-laundering concern."
The funds issue has held up progress in the six-party talks on North Korea's denuclearization.
Hill was quoted as saying, "We have a way forward but we'll have to see if it will work." He did not give details.
Hill's visit comes just prior to the Saturday deadline for North Korea to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear plant and allow U.N. inspection in exchange for energy aid.
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