As a final nuclear agreement with Iran is pending, there are valuable lessons learned from decades of negotiations with North Korea. Ignoring these lessons would be unfortunate.
In September 2005, the United States sanctioned Banco Delta Asia of Macao as a primary money-laundering institution, pursuant to the Patriot Act, freezing North Korea’s $25 million of accounts, most acquired from illicit sources. North Korea’s response was swift and clear: It refused to implement a recently negotiated six-party talks joint statement on an equitable resolution of the nuclear issue with North Korea. To emphasize this point, on July 4, 2006, North Korea launched seven missiles, including a long-range Taepodong 2, followed by a nuclear test that October. In discussions, North Korea was clear in stating that further escalation would follow if the United States did not restore its frozen accounts. The United States complied and in June 2007, the Federal Reserve Bank arranged with the Russian Central Bank to transfer these funds to the Russian Far Eastern Bank, where North Korea had an active account.