Tuesday, December 26, 2006

US wrecked hopes of North Korean nuke deal

South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun has accused the United States of wrecking last year's agreement to scrap North Korea's nuclear programmes by simultaneously imposing financial sanctions.

Roh, in strongly-worded comments reported in Friday's media, also suggested the US Treasury and State Departments are split in their approach to the sanctions, which were a key sticking point in this past week's nuclear negotiations.

"If you look at it in a bad light, you may say (the two US departments) were playing a prearranged game," he said, according to an official transcript of his speech delivered Thursday.

Roh noted that the US blacklisting of Macau's Banco Delta Asia (BDA) -- a move which led to the freezing of 24 million dollars in North Korean accounts -- came just a few days before the agreement on September 19, 2005. Six-nation nuclear negotiations which began in 2003 achieved an apparent breakthrough on that date when the North agreed in principle to scrap its nuclear programmes in return for economic and energy aid and security guarantees.

But North Korea boycotted the forum two months later in protest at the curbs on the BDA accounts, which sparked similar action elsewhere in Asia and effectively shut it out of much of the international banking system.

When talks resumed in Beijing this past week the communist state insisted that the issue be resolved before any further negotiations on denuclearisation. The talks ended Friday without apparent agreement and without setting a firm date to meet again.

[The Daily Star]

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