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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

China says completed first shipment of fuel oil to N. Korea

RIA Novosti

18/09/2007 14:56 BEIJING, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - China has completed the first fuel oil shipment to North Korea as part of a package of economic incentives in exchange for Pyongyang's denuclearization, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency earlier cited diplomatic sources as saying that China promised to supply at least 50,000 metric tons of fuel oil to North Korea by the end of August, but delayed the delivery, which could have caused the postponement of a new round of six-party talks on N. Korea's denuclearization.

"China has begun deliveries of 50,000 tons of fuel oil to North Korea and the first shipment was completed on September 16," Jiang Yu said at a news briefing in Beijing.

The upcoming talks in Beijing, involving China, Japan, Russia, the United States and the two Koreas were originally planned for September 19 and were expected to finalize a timeline for the second stage of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, which envisions North Korea shutting down all its nuclear facilities.

However, South Korean and Japanese officials said Monday the negotiations would be postponed without disclosing the reasons for the delay.

Jiang Yu did not specify a new date, but said China had been constantly in talks with all parties on the prompt resumption of the negotiations that have been dragging on for more than three years and only recently saw any significant progress.

Under a February 2007 agreement, in exchange for North Korea's denuclearization and information on all its nuclear programs, the reclusive state will receive 950,000 metric tons of fuel oil for its thermal power-generating plants in addition to the 50,000 already delivered by South Korea for the closure of its only operational nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

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