North Korea has asked Macau authorities to transfer its funds there to financial institutions in Russia and Italy, possibly clearing the way for Pyongyang to fulfill its nuclear disarmament obligations, Japanese media said yesterday.
The North missed the April 14 deadline to shut down its main reactor, as agreed under a February deal with the US and four other nations, citing a failure to release its funds at Macau-based Banco Delta Asia (BDA).
North Korea had made shutting down the reactor contingent on the release of the money, frozen after the US blacklisted BDA, where the North had 52 accounts allegedly linked to money laundering and counterfeiting.
The US$25 million was freed for withdrawal earlier last month, but has not been moved for unspecified reasons.
North Korean officials held talks on Saturday with authorities in Macau, and requested that some of the money be transferred to unspecified financial institutions in Russia and Italy, Japan's Mainichi Shimbun reported.
It cited China's Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei (武大偉) as telling Japanese lawmakers visiting Beijing about the development. The paper said Wu told the group that there was no political issue over the move.