TOKYO, JAPAN - CHINA begun a system which will allow companies and people from North Korea to open bank accounts in China to settle business transactions in yuan, Japan's Nikkei business daily reported on Sunday.
The new system, which the Nikkei said marked an effective relaxation of sanctions enacted against the North after its October 2006 nuclear test, was jointly developed by the People's Bank of China and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, Beijing sources familiar with the matter were quoted as saying.
It is unprecedented for China to create such a system aimed at a specific country, the Nikkei said.
The report came just days before representatives of the United States and North Korea are set to meet in Singapore for talks that are part of a stalled effort to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
A 2005 accord under which North Korea agreed to abandon all its nuclear programmes in exchange for economic and diplomatic benefits has been bogged down by Pyongyang's failure to produce a declaration of its nuclear programmes by the end of last year.
The so-called six-party agreement was hammered out among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.