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Six-Party Nuclear Talks Break Down in Beijing


Six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program in Beijing broke down Thursday as the North Korean envoy left for the airport to return home.

North Korea's Kim Kye Kwan had refused since Monday to take part in multi-nation meetings until Pyongyang gets back $25 million of North Korean funds frozen at a Macau bank.

Earlier, U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill said China had made "some progress" in transferring the money to a North Korean account at the Bank of China in Beijing.

South Korean negotiator Chun Yung-woo said "technical problems" are holding up the transfer, but said the "political will" exists to resolve the issue quickly.

In another development, North Korea's official news agency says the country's parliament will meet next month, on April 11. The session will begin three days before a deadline for North Korea to shut its main nuclear reactor.

Pyongyang agreed at six-party talks last month to close the reactor at Yongbyon within 60 days in return for energy aid and diplomatic concessions.

U.S. officials said Monday Macau's Banco Delta Asia would release North Korea's frozen funds after Pyongyang promised to use the money for humanitarian projects.

Macau authorities froze the disputed funds in 2005 after Washington accused the bank of helping North Korea to launder money and commit other illicit activities.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters