BEIJING - A US Treasury official in Beijing for negotiations with North Korea
over its alleged illicit financial dealings said Tuesday he was "hopeful" of
Deputy Assistant Treasury
Secretary Daniel Glaser was set to meet his North Korean counterparts later
Tuesday to talk about US financial restrictions, which were imposed due to
Pyongyang's alleged smuggling and counterfeiting and have stymied separate talks
on scrapping its nuclear weapons program.
Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary for Terrorist Financing
and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser speaks to reporters at Beijing's
international airport, China, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2007. [AP]
"We're prepared to go through these talks as long as it takes for us to get
through our agenda," Glaser told reporters. "I'm hopeful we'll make progress."
The North Korean delegation told reporters when they arrived in Beijing that
the talks will be held at the two embassies but did not make any other comments.
The financial negotiations are expected to clear the way for another round of
six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.
Pyongyang has tied the financial
restrictions and disarmament issues together since Washington took action
against the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia in 2005, accusing it of laundering
counterfeit money and abetting other unspecified criminal acts by North Korea.
The issue has caused other banks to steer clear of North Korean business for
fear of losing access to the US market, thereby hampering the North's access to
the international banking system.
The North says the restrictions are evidence of US hostility, and for a year
Pyongyang boycotted the six-nation negotiations on dismantling its nuclear
After North Korea tested a nuclear device in October, it agreed to return to
the disarmament talks - as long as there were separate negotiations on the
However, both the disarmament meetings and the financial discussions, held in
Beijing in December, ended inconclusively. The six-party disarmament talks
involve the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia.
US officials have indicated that North Korea is still demanding the financial
issues be dealt with before progress can be made on the nuclear talks.
Pyongyang wants Washington to first end the financial isolation campaign, and
to lift a freeze on $24 million in accounts at Banco Delta