North Korea said Tuesday that work was in progress to resolve a financial dispute that has been a long-standing hurdle to the communist nation's nuclear disarmament.

The North has refused to start implementing a February agreement to shut down its nuclear reactor until it receives funds from Macau's Banco Delta Asia that had been frozen after the bank was blacklisted by the U.S.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry said it had been demanding that it be able to "freely transfer funds."

"For this, works are under way so that funds at Macau's Banco Delta Asia can be transferred to our bank accounts at a third country," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Pyongyang also repeated its commitment to the disarmament deal.

"Once the fund transfer is realized we are willing to immediately take steps to shut down our nuclear facility as agreed," the ministry said.