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UPDATED: 08:39, March 01, 2006
DPRK urges U.S. to lift financial sanctions
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The U.S. should end financial sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

"We attach importance to the lifting of the financial sanctions against us because this issue serves as a yardstick to show whether the U.S. is willing or not to drop its hostile policy towards the DPRK as it had committed itself do to in the joint statement adopted at the six-party talks," said the spokesman.

"It is the height of folly" for U.S. sanctions to aim to cut off the source of funds for the DPRK's development of nuclear weapons, said the spokesman.

"We manufactured nuclear weapons with our own technology, funds and raw materials from A to Z," he added.

In October last year, the U.S. slapped restrictions on a Macau bank and DPRK companies it said were involved in illicit activities, including counterfeiting, money laundering and financing weapons proliferation, before the second phase of the fourth round of six-party talks in November.

The DPRK has denied the U.S. allegations and has ruled out participation in a new round of disarmament negotiations until the sanctions are lifted.

The DPRK's U.N. ambassador, Pak Gil-yon, said last Wednesday in New York that resumption of the talks "fully depends on the U.S.," according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

The DPRK condemned the U.S. over the sanctions, saying they bar it from having normal financial transactions such as remittance of dollars to banks and settlement by credit cards, said the spokesman.

"By nature the DPRK wanted to join the international financial system to have normal banking transactions, but it was prevented from doing so by the U.S. obstructions", he said.

The spokesman asked the U.S. to stop the "reckless act of linking the issue of fake dollars with the DPRK, lift the financial embargo on the DPRK at an early date and opt for mutual cooperation in normal banking transaction".

U.S. and DPRK officials will meet next month in New York to discuss a rift over Pyongyang's alleged counterfeiting of American dollars.

Source: Xinhua

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