"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Monday, June 11, 2007

North Korea Expecting Normal Access to International Banking System

Initially reported as accepting the request:

Russia has accepted a U.S. request that a Russian bank help end a stalemate over frozen North Korean funds that has halted progress in the North's nuclear disarmament.”

Now is has been agreed upon:

Russia has agreed to help the United States break the impasse over a long-running banking dispute.”

North Korea agreed during six party talks on February 13th to dismantle its nuclear programs, in part understanding they would receive $25 million in frozen money. North Korea missed its April 14th deadline for the first step, which was shutting down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor citing claims it has not received the money. Setting aside the pathetic nature of agreeing to release the funds; North Korea had the means to get the money, but refused to unless the money was transferred; as noted by someone’s Yahoo:

“The communist state insists on a transfer rather than a withdrawal to prove it has regained access to the international banking system.”

All previous reporting of this subject and excepting the paltry sum of it indicated North Korean claims of not closing down the Yongbyon reactor due to its not receiving the $25 million. Now the North’s claim is that they wanted a transfer, which to them is seen as a regaining of access to the international banking system.

Let’s see if it plays out like the following:

  • Russia’s private bank agrees to the transaction as long it is not nailed with the penalties of doing business with North Korea.
  • North Korea receives its $25 million.
  • North Korea does not meet its obligation to close down Yongbyon because it does not have regular access to the international banking system.
Looks like we'll be back to the drawing board.

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