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South warns North on counterfeits

Jan 22,2006
Amid tightening U.S. efforts to end North Korea’s illegal financial activities, including counterfeiting U.S. currency, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said over the weekend that Seoul is deeply concerned over the matter and has already delivered its warning to Pyongyang.
In an interview with CNN on Saturday, Mr. Ban said, “We have conveyed our concerns to North Korean authorities.” He also added that Seoul understands the U.S. position that sanctions against the North are nothing more than Washington’s law enforcement. “At the same time,” he said, “we hope that this kind of counterfeiting or illicit activities by North Korea will not stand in the way of the six-party talks.”
Mr. Ban was in Washington to attend strategic talks with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Meanwhile in Seoul, a delegation from the U.S. Treasury Department arrived Saturday to consult with the South Korean government regarding North Korea’s alleged money laundering and printing of fake U.S. dollars. Washington believes that the North has been financing its nuclear weapons programs through drug smuggling and currency counterfeiting.
Daniel Glacer, deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes at the treasury, led the delegation. The team will stay in Korea until Tuesday. The officials scheduled a series of meetings with officials at Seoul’s Foreign, Finance and Unification ministries as well as the National Intelligence Service.
The team last week visited Hong Kong and Macao to investigate the case involving Banco Delta Asia’s suspected money laundering of North Korea’s dirty currency.
After U.S. warnings and withdrawals of funds by other depositors, the Macao-based bank cut off its dealings with Pyongyang. The North has been complaining about the U.S. actions and refusing to schedule the next round of six-party talks.


by Ser Myo-ja


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