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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Release of North Korean money delayed

It seems as if history repeats itself. Notice that it is the US that still has not been able to release the money. I just wonder if there are not even more requirements that the North Koreans have that are not being met. The US is apparently only releasing part of the money, money that is not "dirty" in their opinion. The US still refuses to allow US financial institutions to deal with the banks. The exact problems are not set out in the article.


Difficult to Meet NK Deadline: US Envoy



By Lee Jin-woo
Staff Reporter



Christopher Hill, left, U.S. envoy to the six-party talks, and his Japanese counterpart Kenichiro Sasae are surrounded by the media after their talks at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, Monday. /Yonhap
The United States has put more pressure on North Korea to cooperate in resolving a complicated banking issue, which has been a stumbling block to implementing a denuclearization accord reached in the six-party talks in February.
But Washington remained positive about the eventual implementation of the Feb. 13 agreement.

``We are working hard to do everything we can,¡¯¡¯ State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told a daily press briefing on Monday. ``And we encourage North Korea do so as well.¡¯¡¯

With only four days to go before the Saturday deadline, members of the nuclear disarmament talks, involving South and North Korea, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, have been struggling with releasing $25 million that had been frozen at Banco Delta Asia (BDA), a bank in Macau, under U.S. sanctions.

The money transfer has been delayed by complicated regulations and restrictions. A U.S. Treasury delegation sent out to Beijing to help work out the issues returned home last week.

The 60-day deadline for the first stage of nuclear disarmament process was set out in the Feb. 13 accord signed in the Chinese capital by the six nations.

``We would hope that all the parties that are involved in the talks understand that this is based on good faith actions,¡¯¡¯ the spokesman said.

Christopher Hill, top U.S. envoy to the six-party talks, arrived in Seoul Tuesday as part of his tour of three Asian nations, including China and Japan, to seek ways to resolve the banking issue.

Hill acknowledged it would be difficult to meet the deadline but downplayed its significance, saying the two sides were still headed in the right direction.

``Obviously every day this banking matter holds us up, and it makes it more difficult to meet the precise deadline,¡¯¡¯ Hill was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Tokyo before leaving for Seoul.

The chief U.S. nuclear negotiator will meet with his South Korean counterpart Chun Yung-woo during his stay in Seoul before leaving for Beijing on Thursday, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Today, Hill is also expected to meet with Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who led a U.S. delegation to Pyongyang to secure the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Richardson, a Democratic presidential candidate, will cross the inter-Korean border today. He has said the North assured him that it would turn over the remains of six U.S. soldiers.

The North¡¯s top nuclear envoy Kim Kye-gwan told the U.S. delegation on Monday that his country would invite international monitors to verify the shutdown of its primary nuclear facilities the moment the frozen funds are released.



things@koreatimes.co.kr

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