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2009/07/01 11:02 KST
U.S. delegation to brief China on N. Korea's illegal activities: officials

By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. official in charge of coordinating sanctions on North Korea is expected to inform the Chinese government of Pyongyang's illicit activities and Washington's plan to implement the U.N. sanctions resolution, officials here said Wednesday.

   The aim is to get Beijing to review the information and subsequently help enforce the U.N. sanctions, they said.

   The U.S. interagency team led by Philip Goldberg, coordinator for the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, left Washington earlier in the day for related consultations in Beijing, according to the State Department.

   The delegation, which includes officials from the National Security Council and Departments of Treasury and Defense, plans to meet with Chinese officials on Thursday and Friday, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said at a press briefing. He did not provide specifics, however.

   The trip to Beijing comes just days after the Obama administration appointed Goldberg, a former ambassador to Bolivia, to oversee domestic and international consultations on sanctions against Pyongyang. Analysts say the move reflects Washington's resolve to see that the sanctions are effectively enforced.

   They are also in agreement that China's cooperation is critical, as it is a main food and energy provider for the impoverished North.

   South Korean government officials privy to the issue said the U.S. delegation is unlikely to make a direct request for China to take its own punitive steps.

   "The U.S. is likely to deliver information on North Korea's illegal and suspected activities to China. It will also brief China in detail on its measures to implement Resolution 1874," a senior foreign ministry official said, asking not to be named. "It is to help China make its own decision."

   A series of visits to China last month by two U.S. government delegations -- one led by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and the other by Michele Flournoy, under secretary of defense for policy -- had a similar purpose, he added.

   In its latest measure against North Korea, the U.S. imposed financial sanctions Tuesday on Iran's Hong Kong Electronics and North Korea's Namchongang Trading Corp., effectively freezing their U.S. assets and banning U.S. firms from engaging in business deals with them. The Treasury and State Departments said the two are involved in Pyongyang's suspected missile proliferation and trading of materials used in its nuclear program.

   The U.S. Navy has also been trailing a North Korean freighter, Kang Nam 1, which is presumed to be carrying illicit weapons. The 2,000-ton vessel is reportedly sailing towards Myanmar perhaps by way of Singapore.

   The U.S. team may also travel to Singapore for discussions on necessary measures, diplomatic sources said.