China urges talks on N. Korean nuclear disarmament

China urged "constructive efforts" Friday in moving forward with international talks on halting North Korea's nuclear program following a financial dispute that held up progress. "We hope that relevant parties will make constructive efforts and push forward the six-party process," spokesman Qin Gang said in a brief statement posted on the ministry's Web site. His remarks come a day before the North was to shut down its main nuclear reactor under the terms of a landmark Feb. 13 deal crafted during disarmament talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and host China. Implementation of that agreement has been hampered by a financial dispute centered around $25 million in North Korean funds that were frozen in a bank in Macau. Washington said this week that dispute was resolved through the unblocking of those accounts, though North Korea has not yet withdrawn the funds. It was not immediately clear whether the Chinese statement was aimed at coaxing North Korea to move forward on its commitments, or whether it reflected disagreement over whether the financial dispute was resolved.