NK-UN sanctions drive

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Yonhap) -- On a trip to Northeast Asia, a couple of senior U.S. officials specializing in economic sanctions have been discussing ways to impose financial restrictions on North Korea as tough as those on Iran, an informed source said Tuesday.

David Cohen, under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, and Dan Fried, the State Department's sanctions coordinator, are due in Beijing following trips to Tokyo and Seoul. The two are in charge of Washington's sanctions worldwide.

"It is unusual that China accepted a simultaneous trip by two ranking U.S. government officials handling sanctions on North Korea," the source told Yonhap News Agency.

Their mission is to discuss bilateral and multilateral sanctions on North Korea to follow through on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2094, adopted after its Feb. 12 nuclear test, added the source.

The U.S. hopes for so-called "secondary boycott" sanctions on North Korea, which are sanctions imposed extra-territorially against particular non-U.S. companies and individuals in response to specified types of activity related to the communist nation.

Secondary boycott sanctions do not involve traditional civil or criminal penalties but instead are measures designed to prevent non-U.S. persons from accessing the U.S. market or conducting business with U.S. persons.

The U.S. has such sanctions on Iran.

Many agree that China would not formally consent to secondary boycott sanctions on North Korea.

"What the U.S. government is seeking is to put psychological pressure on Chinese banks," the source said, requesting anonymity. "If U.S. banks avoid transactions with Chinese banks that have ties with North Korea, it could lead to effects similar to those from secondary boycott sanctions."

In its own bilateral sanctions, the Treasury Department blacklisted the Foreign Trade Bank, North Korea's primary foreign exchange bank, last week.

U.S. officials are stepping up efforts to curb North Korea's financial transactions for the development and trade of nuclear weapons and missiles.

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