Following this week’s flurry of activity around the DPRK, with suggestions of a second nuclear test, the US and North Korea have now agreed to hold financial talks later this month.

The question of financial sanctions imposed in 2005 played a big role in the failure of the six party nuclear negotiations held in December. It was reported that the North Koreans were not ready to move negotiations along unless financial sanctions were lifted. The US position was that there was no linkage between the financial sanctions and North Korea’s nuclear program.

The forthcoming talks are good news to both parties. The Koreans have been after $24 million worth in assets, which have been frozen at a Macau bank. The US wants North Korea to halt its nuclear program and if the issue of financial sanctions is resolved, it will be closer to its goals.

However, the news does not mean that the financial dispute has been resolved. The US is not ready to lift sanctions without conditions. If the US was to lift the sanctions without negotiations, that would mean a second political victory for North Korea (after its successful nuclear test in October). But the announcement is a victory of sorts for someone as its no coincidence that the talks have been announced after an eventful week.

Dmitri Marine blogs on Blogue North

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