Quiet visit for U.S. official on North

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Quiet visit for U.S. official on North


Daniel Glaser

A key U.S. Treasury Department official handling international sanctions on North Korea completed a private, three-day visit to Seoul yesterday.

Daniel Glaser, the deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, left South Korea after meeting officials at the Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry here.

Glaser and Stephen Mull, senior adviser to the undersecretary for political affairs at the State Department, arrived here on Wednesday.

Their visit was initially kept secret but a diplomatic source yesterday confirmed that Glaser and Mull discussed international sanctions against North Korea and nonproliferation issues with their South Korean counterparts.

“The two sides talked about matters related to their common interests,” the source said, alluding to the financial and arms embargoes that were imposed on Pyongyang following the North’s nuclear test last May.

“There have been consultations on various levels between Seoul and Washington and this visit was an extension of that.

“South Korea and the United States have cooperated quite well on North Korean sanctions,” the source added. “This was an opportunity for officials from the two countries to evaluate how far they’ve come and talk about where they should go from here.”

This was Glaser’s first visit to Seoul since 2004. He was an instrumental figure behind the Treasury Department’s decision in September 2005 to freeze $25 million in North Korean assets at Banco Delta Asia in Macao. According to Stuart Levey, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, the department at the time found BDA to be a “primary” money laundering concern and determined that the bank had financed a series of “illicit activities ... on behalf of North Korea-related entities.”

Following the asset freeze at the bank, about 20 financial companies worldwide severed their ties with North Korea and that cut the inflow of dollars to the North. Effects were such that at a six-party talks session held later in 2005, Kim Gye-gwan, the chief North Korean negotiator, complained of “pains” caused by the U.S. move.

By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]
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