Handing North Korea Millions Is No Solution

I am astonished that the Administration has buckled and allowed roughly $25 million frozen at Banco Delta Asia in Macau will be be transferred to North Korea on the understanding it will be used solely for "humanitarian and educational purposes."

Pyongyang shouldn't be handed $25 million - much of it criminally gained, including counterfeiting U.S. currency - in return for a North Korean pledge that it will be used for humanitarian purposes. This is a regime that has shown zero respect for the plight of North Koreans.

I'm wondering what mechanisms are in place to ensure that $25 million isn't just going back in Kim Jong-Il's pocket?

With this announcement I have little confidence that North Korea's illicit activities will be addressed in the U.S.-North Korean working group in any meaningful way. Last week we got it right, cutting-off Banco Delta Asia from the U.S. financial system. This week we seem to be moving backwards.

It's not the dollar figure that matters, but the larger question of how we will respond to North Korea's global and robust illicit activity. Confronting North Korea on its illicit activities bolsters our diplomatic efforts, and makes denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula more likely, not less. Ending its counterfeiting and other criminal activity would sever a key subsidy for North Korea's weapons of mass destruction program and force North Korea into international norms.

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