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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 07:30 GMT
N Korea nuclear talks to resume
American dollar bill
A row about counterfeit dollars is complicating talks
Six-nation talks on tackling North Korea's nuclear ambitions will resume on 8 February, hosts China announced.

The talks involve North and South Korea, the US, China, Russia and Japan and are designed to persuade the North to end its nuclear programme.

But there has been little progress since talks began in 2003.

The announcement came as the US and North Korea met to discuss financial sanctions imposed amid allegations of North Korean money laundering.

Before meeting his North Korean counterpart in Beijing, US Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Daniel Glaser told reporters that he was "hopeful" of progress on the financial dispute, which North Korea says is holding up progress on the nuclear issue.

The last round of nuclear talks, held in December, ended inconclusively.

But there have since been bi-lateral meetings between the US and North Korea, which prompted hopes for progress.

The US and its allies want to build on a 2005 agreement under which North Korea would give up all its nuclear activities and rejoin the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in return for aid and security guarantees.

But some analysts say North Korea is no longer interested in the deal, after it successfully tested a nuclear device in October 2006.

Sanctions

The sanctions row centres on a small private bank in the southern Chinese enclave of Macau.

In 2005 the US took action against Banco Delta Asia, accusing it of laundering counterfeit money for North Korea.

Since then, other banks have also avoided doing business with Pyongyang for fear of antagonising the US.

This has hurt North Korea, which has responded by linking the financial restrictions to the six-party talks on the North's nuclear programme.






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