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U.S. urges 'extreme caution' with any economic cooperation with N. Korea

All Headlines 00:52 June 15, 2011

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, June 14 (Yonhap) -- The United States wants "transparency, extreme caution and vigilance" in any economic cooperation between North Korea and other nations, a senior Washington official said Tuesday, as the communist nation, under tough United Nations sanctions, intensifies business ties with China and steps up efforts to draw investors.

"There continue to be concerns," a senior White House official told Yonhap News Agency with regard to a recent announcement that North Korea and China will develop joint economic complexes on Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa islands along their river border.

The fresh initiative by the communist allies was unveiled shortly after the North's leader, Kim Jong-il, visited China and held summit talks with President Hu Jintao late last month.

An informed source also said that North Korea has separately leased a pier in Rason, a special economic zone near China, to Switzerland.

"We urge transparency, extreme caution and vigilance in any business dealings with North Korea. We urge all United Nations member states to fully implement U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, which target North Korea's continued involvement in proliferation, nuclear weapons development and procurement of luxury goods," the White House official said on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. and South Korea have been putting economic pressure on the impoverished North, which refuses to dismantle its nuclear program and continues military threats. But China, the North's largest benefactor, has maintained close economic ties with North Korea, prompting criticism that it is undermining U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang imposed after its nuclear and missile tests in 2006 and 2009.


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