Koryo Asia buys North Korean bank

6 September 2006

The Hong Kong-based investment advisory firm Koryo Asia has announced that it will buy a foreign-owned North Korean bank in a move that is likely to put further pressure on the US to end sanctions against the country's financial sector.

Koryo Asia has provisionally agreed to buy 70 per cent of Daedong Credit Bank, Associated Press reports.

This is currently owned by a group of foreign investment companies operating under the banner of Oriental Commercial Holdings, and specializes in offering financial services to organizations with business in North Korea.

The bank, which is the first in North Korea to be owned by foreigners, is regarded as an unlikely acquisition target by many industry observers, due to the sanctions currently imposed by the US, who continue to distrust the communist nation over its anti-American sentiment and continued nuclear weapons program.

However, Koryo Asia chairman Colin McAskill said that financial operations in North Korea represented a "legitimate activity", undeserving of the restrictions.

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