Thought for the Day

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

FOLLOW-UP COMMENTS U.S. takes aim at North Korea's remaining financial links

As expected I received these comments from one of our Korea Watchers who knows a lot about north Korean finances and illicit activities, Dr. Bruce Bechtol who clarifies the article and asks the all important question:

Notice this piece talks about what the US government CAN DO.  Not what they HAVE DONE.  This opens the door for the Obama administration to truly go after North Korean financial networks and the front companies that support them.

The question is, and this is an important question…

Will the Obama administration actually use the power these new sanctions authorize?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Maxwell <David.Maxwell@georgetown.edu>
Date: Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 5:07 PM
Subject: U.S. takes aim at North Korea's remaining financial links
To:


Seems like we are embarking on a path to try to achieve Banco Delta Asia-like effects.  This seems like good news.  I look forward to hearing the analysis of the Korea hands on this.

Excerpt:

New sanctions announced by President Barack Obama on Jan 2. provided "a tremendous amount of flexibility" and the goal was to identity remaining financial institutions that allowed North Korea access to the global system, which could face sanction themselves, Glaser told a House of Representatives briefing.
"We could target any North Korean government agency; we could target any North Korean government official ... we could apply sanctions with respect to any individual or entity who is providing them, in turn, material support," he said.


U.S. takes aim at North Korea's remaining financial links


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the newly-built Pyongyang City Mushroom Farm in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang January 10, 2015. REUTERS/KCNA
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the newly-built Pyongyang City Mushroom Farm in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang January 10, 2015.
CREDIT: REUTERS/KCNA

(Reuters) - The United States aims to use new sanctions imposed on North Korea over the cyber attack on Sony Pictures to cut off the country's remaining links to the international financial system, a senior U.S. Treasury official said on Tuesday.
Daniel Glaser, assistant secretary for terrorist financing at the U.S. Treasury Department, said past sanctions had already discouraged "hundreds" of overseas banks, including China's major commercial banks, from doing business with North Korea.
New sanctions announced by President Barack Obama on Jan 2. provided "a tremendous amount of flexibility" and the goal was to identity remaining financial institutions that allowed North Korea access to the global system, which could face sanction themselves, Glaser told a House of Representatives briefing.
"We could target any North Korean government agency; we could target any North Korean government official ... we could apply sanctions with respect to any individual or entity who is providing them, in turn, material support," he said.
Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for use of the full scope of the new sanctions announced after U.S. authorities said North Korea was behind the Sony attack. North Korea has denied involvement.
"The significance of this new Executive Order may come from the broad power it gives the president to target anyone who is a part of the North Korean government, or is assisting them in any way … that is if the administration chooses to use it to its full advantage," he told the briefing.
"We need to step up and target those financial institutions in Asia and beyond that are supporting the brutal and dangerous North Korean regime."
When challenged by Royce about "a number of small banks" still doing business with North Korea and the need to choke off the country's access to hard currency, Glaser replied: "That's exactly what we are trying to do."
Royce said he hoped a bipartisan bill he sponsored that would label North Korea "a primary money laundering concern" would be passed by the Senate this year.
    Long-standing international sanctions have sought to push North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program, but while they have slowed the program, they have not stopped it.
North Korea's main economic ties are with China and, according U.S. government reports, the country's tiny economy has supported itself with money-making scams ranging from counterfeiting $100 bills to illicit arms sales and drug smuggling.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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