SEOUL - The United States and North Korea have tentatively agreed to meet
later this month to discuss a crackdown on the North's finances that has stalled
talks on curbing Pyongyang's nuclear plans, South Korea said on Monday.
six-country nuclear talks last month in Beijing, North Korea said it would not
scrap its atomic weapons program until the United States ended its financial
South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon said after meetings in Washington
over the past few days that a compromise on holding talks on the financial
measures might have been reached.
"No date has been fixed yet, but I was told North Korea and the US have
provisionally reached a compromise to hold it in the week starting on January
22," he said on the weekend, according to a Web posting on South Korea's
Overseas Information Service.
US and North Korean financial officials have met before, including on the
sidelines last month at the nuclear talks in Beijing, to discuss the measures.
The United States has said it will not back down on its crackdown on firms it
suspects of aiding North Korea in illicit activities such as counterfeiting.
Washington said the move was a law enforcement measure not related to the
The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea after it defied
international warnings and conducted its first nuclear test on October 9.
Last Friday, the United States warned North Korea of deeper isolation if the
North conducts a second atomic test, amid a report from American TV network ABC
that Pyongyang has been preparing to detonate nuclear another