Friday, August 04, 2006

North Korea's Mounting Troubles

The last few weeks have been rough for North Korea.

After the country provoked international ire by test-firing seven ballistic missiles, the United Nations Security Council voted to bar U.N. member states from trading missile-related technology and materials with the North.

South Korea is holding back rice and fertilizer aid; Japan is preparing to impose its own economic sanctions including tough restrictions on high-tech exports to the North.

Then Typhoon Ewiniar battered one-third of the country.

China, the North's closest ally, largest trading partner and aid donor, had frozen North Korean assets held in the Macau branch of the Bank of China. Beijing's clampdown, which took place last year, followed a similar freeze on about $24 million of Pyongyang's cash in another Macau bank—Banco Delta Asia—which the U.S. claimed was funneling money the North earns from drug smuggling and counterfeiting.

[TIME Asia]

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