North Korea is under new pressure to begin its process of denuclearisation. South Korea’s top nuclear envoy has urged the north to act after what appears to be a resolution of a deadlock in the process. North Korean money that had been frozen in a Macau bank account has now been released.
This had been a condition for Pyongyang to begin dismantling its nuclear programme. The South Korean envoy, Chun Young-woo, confirmed the transfer of the money, saying implementation of a denuclearisation agreement signed on February 13 was now the focus. But he said it was unclear how long North Korea would take to confirm receipt of the funds.
Close to 20 million euros had been frozen in the vaults of Macau’s Banco Delta Asia since 2005 after the US blacklisted the bank over allegations it was helping North Korea to launder illicit funds. The West is hoping North Korea will live up to its commitment to begin shutting down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor.