U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen visits South Korea on Tuesday. He will meet with officials in the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade and of Strategy and Finance on Wednesday to discuss how to implement sanctions against North Korea under UN Security Council Resolution 2094.
Cohen starts his East Asian tour in Japan on Monday, and then moves on to South Korea and China.
The resolution adopted on March 7 bans financial transactions that can be used by North Korea to develop nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction. It also bans North Korea from opening new overseas bank branches.
But critics have pointed out that leader Kim Jong-un's slush funds, which are dispersed in numerous bank accounts under false or borrowed names abroad, are not covered by the resolution.
Cohen is likely to seek another way to impose sanctions on North Korea, in addition to the resolution. In 2005 the U.S. Treasury named Macau-based BDA as a "primary money laundering concern." Macau then froze North Korea's US$25 million scattered around numerous accounts in BDA and paralyzed the regime's financial activities. This particular sanction was so effective that there were rumors that North Korean officials were saying the regime's "blood was frozen."
Cohen is expected to seek cooperation from China, which is crucial in successfully implementing financial sanctions. Daniel Glaser, the Treasury Department's deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, who led the BDA sanctions, hinted at strong financial sanctions against North Korea in a lecture at Georgetown University last month.