May 23, 2013 11:41
UN organizations based in Pyongyang are struggling to get the funds to run their offices after China closed down all accounts by North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank, which had served as the conduit.
According to a source in Beijing on Wednesday, the UN bodies have asked the North Korean regime to allow them to receive transfers from abroad through foreign-invested banks in North Korea rather than the Foreign Trade Bank, but the regime refused.
The refusal appears to be an act of petty revenge on the UN after it tightened sanctions against the renegade regime.
Twenty-four countries including China, Russia, Sweden and the U.K. have embassies in Pyongyang. UN bodies such as the World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, Development Programme and World Health Organization have offices there as well.
The embassies are struggling less because they can always carry money in diplomatic pouches, but that option is not available to UN organizations.
Earlier this month, the Chinese government shut down Bank of China accounts held by North Korean Foreign Trade Bank suspected of connections with the North's nuclear and missile programs and halted all financial transactions with the bank.
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