N.Korea not attending BIS meeting
Monday June 19, 8:18 PM
LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) - North Korea said on Monday it will not attend a weekend meeting of central bankers at the Bank for International Settlements, despite an appearance last year that some saw as a sign heralding further economic reform.
An official at the communist state's central bank, who declined to be identified, said the bank's governor Kim Wan Su and deputy director of the international department Kim Myong Su would not be at the meeting in Basel, Switzerland.
"This year, unfortunately, he (the governor) has something very urgent and he cannot attend," the official told Reuters on the phone from Pyongyang.
North Korea was in the spotlight of global financial markets on Monday as some U.S. officials said Pyongyang appeared to have finished fuelling for a missile test flight that could possibly reach as far as Alaska.
Governors from scores of central banks around the world are expected to attend the meeting of the BIS, a forum for central banks, which ends on June 26.
Kim Wan Su and Kim Myong Su attended last year's meeting and the governor exchanged words with his counterparts, including Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui and the then-governor of South Korea's central bank, Park Seung.
On currency markets tension over the possible missile launch added downward pressure to the Japanese yen, South Korean won and Taiwan dollar on Monday.
North Korea, branded part of an "axis of evil" by the United States, shocked the world in 1998 when it fired a missile, part of which flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean. It has stuck to a moratorium on ballistic missile launches since 1999.
The impoverished nation is shunned by most of the world for its highly authoritarian regime and is the focus of a multinational diplomatic effort to curb its nuclear ambitions.
The appearance of North Korean central bank officials at last year's BIS meeting fostered hopes that the country was preparing to extend economic reforms which started in 2002.
The Stalinist state has only one major official trading partner, China, but Beijing has moved closer to the more developed economy in South Korea over the past several years, making it difficult for the North to secure foreign cash.
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