Kim Jong Il Unplugged, Part 16

East Asia Commercial Bank of Vietnam closed all accounts linked to North Korea on Wednesday after the Macau government indicated it will keep the North’s accounts in its own Banco Delta Asia frozen “as long as legally possible. EACB has been acting as a correspondent bank for customers to remit money to and from North Korea. The U.K. Financial Times on Thursday quoted a letter from EACB deputy general director Nguyen Thi Ngoc Van to its North Korean customers and companies dealing with the communist state. “Recently, we have worked with American partners in strategic co-operation. Therefore, we apology that we must close all your nostro [correspondent] accounts with our bank,” it quoted the letter as saying.  [link]

Since the North Koreans showed up in Beijing with instructions to be “confident” — meaning, to concede nothing — we should expect the U.S. to impose more financial pressure on them.

The flaw in that strategy, however, is that impoverishing the ruling class will only jostle the same old organization chart.  Replacing them with something better begin with non-permissive political engagement with the North Korean people.