Update: The BOC account played a role in the 2000 summit scandal, according to the Chosun Ilbo.
What skill it must take to step in it this hard:
SEOUL, July 24 (Yonhap) — North Korea is suspected of having printed fake Chinese currency, which prompted the Bank of China (BOC) to freeze all of its North Korean accounts in an apparent retaliation, a South Korean legislator asserted on Monday.
Quoting a number of unidentified U.S. officials, Rep. Park Jin of the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) said the freezing of North Korean accounts at the BOC is tantamount to virtual imposition of sanctions by Beijing on the North.
“I understand the North is even more frustrated because this means China is in fact imposing sanctions on North Korea,” the opposition lawmaker told Yonhap News Agency in a telephone interview.
No wonder Kim Jong Il wants to talk. Incidentally, I don’t believe Kim Jong Il really did this. Not even he is that brazen, nor is the yuan worth counterfeiting. I suspect this is China’s way of saving face after some pointed threats from the U.S. Treasury Department. Just my own theory, unsupported by any hard facts, but read this before you dismiss it.
Next, watch for more news on the Austrian and Swiss accounts. I’m reminded of the scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” where “Dave” disconnects Hal’s circuits, one at a time. My guess is that the North Koreans are coming back to the talks to ask, “Dave, what are you doing?”