Thursday, November 12, 2009

Strangling Kim Jong-il's Cash Flow

Chosun Ilbo reports, on the eve of the visit of U.S. envoy Stephen Bosworth, that another U.S. envoy, Philip Goldberg, who is charged with UN sanctions, is still hard at work trying to block North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's cash flow.

South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities believe that North Korea recently earned a lot of foreign currency by smuggling ivory from Africa and distributing fake Viagra as well as selling drugs and circulating counterfeit dollars. The North allegedly laundered money or operated secret bank accounts with the help of the Russian gangsters after it became practically impossible for the North to carry out normal transactions using the real names of top officials or agencies.

Professor Cho Young-ki of Korea University said, "The U.S.-led financial sanctions will deal a blow especially to Kim Jong-il's slush funds and the North's munitions economy. Unlike in 2005 when it sanctioned Banco Delta Asia, the U.S. now seems to have found a way to inflict pain on the North while not allowing it to openly resist."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apparently believes Golberg's efforts have been successful, saying Monday that North Korea now wants dialogue because nations of the six-party talks are taking concerted action in implementing sanctions against the North.

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