Looks like Washington blinked again and Pyongyang’s “dirty” money is headed for a US bank, rather than to South Korea.
Since it comes from the Washington Times, I guess we can assume the report reflects bleak hardliner despair rather than frothy realist optimism:
The Bush administration has found a U.S. bank willing to accept $25 million in North Korean funds, and officials hope the transfer — the final hurdle to the closure of the North’s main nuclear reactor — can take place in the next few days, The Washington Times has learned.
U.S. officials did not identify the American bank, although they suggested that it is not one of the bigger and more recognizable institutions.
“This time, I think we really do have something,” [Christopher Hill] said.
As to why it happened:
The highly unusual decision to let North Korean money labeled by the Treasury as “dirty” be deposited in a U.S. bank — entailing full access to the international financial system — was made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., officials said.
Mr. Paulson is said to have agreed with Miss Rice because he does not want to risk his good relations with Chinese officials.
All in all, a good, credible article courtesy of Nicholas Kralev. From the Washington Times. Who’da thunk it?
Along the way, it indirectly acknowledges China’s central role in advancing the agreement.
There was, however, a paragraph in the report that indicates that there will continue to be a role for blogs that can remember past last week and have the sense to parse administration spin.
The State Department used the issue as leverage to force North Korea to return to the six-party talks late last year after an 18-month boycott.
Gee, I guess that ATOMIC BOMB in Kim Jung Il’s pocket didn’t have anything to do with restarting the talks.
Or that UN resolution.
Or China’s decision to withdraw its diplomatic protection from Kim Jung Il.
And of course, North Korea left the Six Party talks in late 2005 in response to the BDA action, which one might consider the exact opposite of “rejoining” them.
But all in all, some substantive, positive news on the issue is cause for celebratio