DPRK claims that US sanctions not that effective

From the joong ang:

WASHINGTON – North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Han Song-ryol, dismissed the effect of U.S. financial sanctions on his country, saying that it is cooperating economically with China and Russia. Mr. Han spoke with the Joong Ang Ilbo correspondent here by phone, and said Washington was simply patting itself on the back in claiming the sanctions were effective.
“We have endured sanctions by the United States for 50 years. More sanctions won’t bring any special changes,” Mr. Han said, repeating that North Korea would step up its nuclear deterrence.
Told that there was a perception here that the North’s external financial resources had been drained, Mr. Han replied with a reference to his country’s juche (self-reliance) philosophy. He said the North’s economy was not export-oriented, but was fully self-sufficient. If foreign banks stopped dealing with the North, he said, it wouldn’t matter much.
Washington has threatened to impose financial sanctions on a Macao bank it says has engaged in money laundering for North Korean drug and cigarette smuggling. The bank has frozen assets in some accounts linked to North Korea. And despite Mr. Han’s professed indifference to those sanctions, Pyongyang has refused to return to nuclear negotiations until they are lifted, and specifically until the reported $24 million at the Banco Delta Asia is returned.
Mr. Han said Washington was accusing the North of counterfeiting U.S. currency and imposing sanctions without proof. “The assertion that there are secret funds in Swiss bank accounts is also of the same substance. Hasn’t the Swiss government announced that Washington’s claim is groundless?” asked Mr. Han. (It has not gone that far publicly, but the Swiss ambassador in Seoul said recently that evidence of questionably obtained assets in Swiss banks would be required for authorities to act.)
He said that Washington was raising human rights issues and financial sanctions because it saw no chance of getting favorable results in the North Korean nuclear talks. Mr. Han said that the recent acceptance by Washington of six North Korean defectors was also a move to press Pyongyang.
When asked what he thought on Washington’s claim that photographs existed of North Korean diplomats exchanging counterfeit money, the deputy ambassador said that if that were the case, CNN would already have aired them. He said Pyongyang’s policies would not be affected even if U.S. officials favoring negotiations saw their influence weakened and hardliners gained the upper hand.


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