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US Treasury Official Dispatched to China Over North Korean Funds


The United States says it is sending a top Treasury Department official to China to help resolve a banking dispute that had stalled nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea.

Treasury officials say Daniel Glaser, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, will travel to Beijing Saturday to help address a frozen bank payment to North Korea.

Pyongyang refused to participate in the latest round of nuclear talks this past week until $25 million in funds, frozen at a bank in Macau, were returned.

The chief U.S. envoy to six-party talks Christopher Hill said Friday the discussions could resume within a week or two, once the dispute is resolved.

The funds were frozen in 2005 after Washington accused Macau's Banco Delta Asia of helping North Korea launder money and commit other illicit activities.

Earlier this week, U.S. officials said the funds would be released.

It was originally expected the funds would be transferred to a North Korean account at the state-run Bank of China. However, officials at that bank have yet to accept the money.

North Korea agreed last month to close its main nuclear reactor, allow inspectors in the country, and disclose all of its nuclear programs. In exchange, Pyongyang was promised energy aid and diplomatic incentives.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters

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