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No Progress Reported In North Korean Banking Row

The meetings were over how to arrange the return to North Korea of 25 million dollars frozen in a Macau bank due to accusations of money laundering and counterfeiting.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 30, 2007
A US Treasury official was still in Beijing on Friday after several days of meetings to resolve a complex financial impasse that has held up North Korean nuclear talks, the US Embassy said.

US officials have been tight-lipped about the talks between a delegation led by Daniel Glaser, the deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, and Chinese officials.

But an embassy spokeswoman told AFP that Glaser was still in the Chinese capital six days after arriving despite an earlier prediction by a top US negotiator that the issue would be sorted out quickly.

The meetings were over how to arrange the return to North Korea of 25 million dollars frozen in a Macau bank due to accusations of money laundering and counterfeiting.

No details were available on Glaser's schedule, the Embassy spokeswoman said.

Glaser has held various talks with officials from China's foreign ministry, the central bank and the country's banking industry regulator, his spokeswoman said earlier in the week.

He also held at least one meeting with North Korean officials.

Talks in Beijing on implementing a new North Korean nuclear disarmament accord broke down last week after the reclusive Stalinist state refused to continue negotiating until the 25 million dollars was returned.

The money was supposed to be transferred quickly to a North Korean account with the Bank of China but the state-owned lender has reportedly refused to accept the money.

The chief US envoy to the six-nation talks, Christopher Hill, said in Washington on Monday that he expected the banking issue to be resolved in a couple of days.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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