Cohen urges cooperation on unilateral sanctions

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Cohen urges cooperation on unilateral sanctions

The U.S. Treasury’s sanctions chief urged cooperation to enhance sanctions against North Korea yesterday in Seoul as a part of his three-country East Asia tour.

David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, met with chief nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam, also chief negotiator for the six-party talks, and stated they “covered a full range of issues on North Korea.”

Cohen said, regarding his closed-door talks with Lim, that they see the issue of North Korea “very similarly” and he plans to “work together even more intensively on these issues.”

He discussed in detail the United States’ recent unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang, though he did not request Korea join in imposing financial restriction on the North’s primary foreign exchange bank.

“The two countries discussed cooperation regarding the United States’ unilateral sanctions imposed on North Korea on March 11,” a foreign ministry official stated yesterday, adding that U.S. did at this point request Korea join in the implementation of the same measures.

On March 11, the U.S. Treasury announced it will impose separate unilateral sanctions against the Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea, banning transactions between the U.S. and Pyongyang’s primary foreign exchange bank and blacklisted several individuals for supporting Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

Cohen and Daniel Fried, the U.S. State Department’s sanctions coordinator, also met with Korean senior foreign affairs and finance officials including Choi Jong-ku, deputy finance minister.

They kicked off a five-day Asia tour with Tokyo on Monday and head next to Beijing, seeking to discuss with the three countries beefing up sanctions against North Korea in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2094 as a punitive measure for Pyongyang’s third nuclear test and provocations.

“I think the Japanese also see the threat from the North Koreans, in particular their recent very provocative acts, in much the same way that we do,” Cohen said to Kim Kyou-hyun, vice minister of foreign affairs and trade, yesterday, regarding his Tokyo meeting.

Kyodo News reported on Tuesday that the Japanese government also plans to ban its financial institutions from doing business with North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank.

By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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