n. korea nuclear 298 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
North Korea is ready to quickly shut down its nuclear reactor after receiving funds that had been frozen in a banking dispute, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.
"The shutdown is something that can be done immediately and it won't take long," Ri Kyong Son, vice spokesman at the ministry, told APTN in an interview in Pyongyang.
However, he stressed that progress toward disarmament will hinge on the release of some US$25 million frozen after Washington blacklisted a Macau bank where the North Korean regime held accounts. The US agreed to allow the release of the money to persuade the North to take initial steps toward dismantling its nuclear weapons programs.
Ri said he could not predict when North Korea would access the money.
"The US has made the announcement but only when we receive the funds can the sanctions be said to have been lifted," Ri told APTN. "Making the announcement itself does not settle the unfreezing of the funds."
Meanwhile, Ri also expressed optimism over a scheduled test run of trains across the border separating North and South Korea. The trial is scheduled for later this month, but such tests have been scheduled before only to be called off at the last minute due to the objections of the North Korean military, citing security concerns.
"Testing the running of the train between North and South is expected to be held soon," Ri said.