Saturday, May 12, 2007

This looks like it’s really it...

Commenter David provides the link to a news report indicating that he was right and I was wrong in predicting whether or not a US bank would receive the BDA funds. Congrats Dave, and thanks.

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 celebration

2 comments:

David said...

CH,

you are very welcome, happy to help out:)

BTW re:

"Mr. Paulson is said to have agreed with Miss Rice because he does not want to risk his good relations with Chinese officials."

It would not be beyond the bounds of belief to assume that the Chinese, having endured the two week visit of Dan Dan The Treasury Man which went no where, to have got thoroughly fed up with the UST private war against DPRK and Macau.

Therefore they probably threatened, in only the subtle way that sophisticated diplomats could do (something that W has yet to learn), that something unfortunate might happen with the trillions of dollars of US bonds/debt that they hold.

Guess that's why Paulson wants to continue to have "good relaitons" with them.

Purely speculation on my part of course:)

Those who tweak the Dragon's tail too much, are apt to find their fingers burnt.

DJ

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