US rejects N Koreas demand to lift financial sanctions

Jan 4 | Updated: Jan 5 2006, 05:30am hrs
The US rejected North Koreas demand it lift financial sanctions against the communist nation as a condition to continue six-nation talks on dismantling its nuclear weapons programmes.

That is a matter of protecting our national interests and combating illicit activities that they are engaged in, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said in Washington on Tuesday, according to a transcript. We are going to continue to take action to stop them from engaging in illicit activities. The US Treasury Department in September took steps to bar US banks from doing business with Macau, China-based Banco Delta Asia by designating the bank as a money-laundering threat that serves as a willing pawn for illicit North Korean financial activity.

North Korea on Tuesday said through its Korean Central News Agency it wont resume six-party talks on giving up its nuclear weapons programme unless the US lifts sanctions against the country for allegedly engaging in counterfeiting and money laundering.

I think that this latest statement by the regime in North Korea is yet another in a long list of pretexts for delay, McClellan said. The other parties to the talks have made clear to North Korea that they expect North Korea to make good on the agreed-to statement and to give up its nuclear weapons.