Last-remaining N. Korean bans to be cut off from SWIFT: report

WASHINGTON-- The four last-remaining North Korean banks will be cut off from the global financial messaging network SWIFT, a news report said Thursday, a restriction that would deepen the isolation of the communist regime for seeking nuclear and missile development.

SWIFT officials as saying that the North Korean banks will be disconnected for failing to meet its operating criteria. But the network declined to specify what the banks' shortcomings were or if it had received representations from any governments, the report said.

The decision came days after a news report that the North's Foreign Trade Bank, Kumgang Bank, Koryo Credit Development Bank, and North East Asia Bank still remain on SWIFT despite U.S. sanctions on the institutions.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on the Foreign Trade Bank in 2013, accusing it of facilitating weapons of mass destruction programs. The other three banks were blacklisted in December for supporting the North's weapons programs.

Specialized financial messaging services are essential for international financial transactions. Without such services, wire transfers and other global transactions are impossible. The most representative of such services is SWIFT or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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