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. Bank of China refuses frozen North Korean funds: report
BEIJING, March 22 (AFP) Mar 21, 2007
The Bank of China has refused to accept the transfer of frozen North Korean funds, an issue which has held-up nuclear disarmament talks with the Stalinist nation, official media reported Thursday.

The bank was refusing to accept the transfer of the funds from a Macau bank account, China's Xinhua news agency said, quoting the chief Russian envoy to the talks, Alexander Losyukov.

Top negotiators to the disarmament talks expressed frustration Wednesday as North Korea refused to attend a series of six-nation meetings here as it awaited the promised return of the frozen 25 million dollars.

The latest round of the talks began Monday with the United States announcing it had resolved the long-running financial sanctions dispute with North Korea that had been the major stumbling block in the forum.

Washington had frozen the Macau bank account amid allegations of money laundering and counterfeiting by the North Korean regime.

Macau authorities said the money would be transferred into a North Korean account, but by Wednesday the funds had yet to be delivered.

The Xinhua report did not provide details on why the Bank of China was refusing the transfer.

The six-nation talks involve the two Koreas, Russia, the United States, Japan and host China.

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