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U.S. to Pressure N. Korea at Meeting

Posted August. 31, 2006 06:56,   


The U.S. is expected to urge concerted efforts by the international community to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction and North Korea’s illegal cash transfer at the APEC finance ministers’ meeting scheduled for September 4 to 8 in Vietnam.

The country has been stressing the need for dialogue on how to impose UNSC sanctions against North Korea within a multilateral framework since its adoption in July, and the ministerial level talks seem to be the first stage for such discussions.

Diplomatic sources in Washington said on August 29 local time that the U.S. government, prior to the upcoming announcement of specific sanctions against Pyongyang, has acted on a principle to stall North Korea’s illegal activities and WMD proliferation at every possible chance in international conferences, and that it is no surprise to take APEC as an opportunity to evoke issues concerning North Korea.

In particular, at this conference, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson will personally attend the meeting, which is exceptional given that Washington has sent only the deputy secretary to the ministerial talks thus far.

The U.S. Treasury Department has been restricting financial transactions through investigations into counterfeit money the sale of drugs and fake pills, and weapons trade by North Korea.

The Associated Press in its report on the same day quoted U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Marine as saying, “Hanoi has decided to collaborate with Washington lest Pyongyang should open illicit accounts in any Vietnamese financial institution.”

He said in an interview that Stuart Levey, the U.S. undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, visited Hanoi last month and discussed the matter with Vietnamese officials, and that Secretary Paulson will bring it up again next week.

Vietnam is allegedly one of the countries along with Macao, Singapore, and Russia, where North Korea opened secret bank accounts.