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US-North Korea Financial Sanctions Talks End First Day With Little Sign of Progress


A second round of talks between U.S. and North Korean officials on U.S. financial sanctions have ended its first day in Beijing with little sign of progress. China has announced that parallel talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons programs will resume February 8, but Pyongyang has said there will be no progress until the financial sanctions are lifted. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

Daniel Glaser, the U.S. Treasury Department's assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, says he met with the leader of North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank, O Kwang Chol, for about three hours Tuesday.

Late Tuesday, Glaser said they discussed North Korean financial activity at a Macau bank, Banco Delta Asia, and U.S. concerns about counterfeiting. He said recent documents confirm a lot of "troubling activity" at the Macau bank.

He said, "The working group today gave us the opportunity to discuss those issues with our counterparts from North Korea and hopefully as we move forward will give us the opportunity to shed more light upon some of the issues that we are concerned about."

Glaser says the two sides will continue talks Wednesday morning at the North Korean embassy. Earlier in the day he had said the discussions would last at least two days.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Banco Delta Asia in 2005, alleging it was supporting North Korean money laundering and other illicit financial activities.

As a result of those sanctions, many banks in other countries have limited their dealings with North Korea, effectively blocking the already isolated nation from the international banking system.

The U.S. financial sanctions have been a major obstacle to six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear programs.

North Korea had boycotted those talks for a year but returned to negotiations in December after the U.S. agreed to discuss the sanctions at separate meetings held at the same time. No breakthrough was made during either set of talks.

China, the host of the six-nation negotiations, which also include South Korea, Japan, and Russia, announced Tuesday they would resume on February eighth.

However, it is not clear how much progress can be made.

Pyongyang has said it wants the financial sanctions lifted before it will to give up its nuclear programs in return for aid and security guarantees.

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