PRESS RELEASE December 9, 1997 U.S. TREASURY REVERSES DECISION TO ALLOW 'NORTH KOREAN INTERNET APPEAL' TO OPEN AN AMERICAN BANK ACCOUNT TO COLLECT FUNDS FOR FAMINE VICTIMS The U.S. Treasury Department, which once blocked a bank account in a Washington bank that had received donations to purchase food and drugs for North Korean flood victims, reversed itself and now permits such an account "to receive donations to finance the purchase of (humanitarian) commodities." The bank account which had been blocked was held in the Crestar Bank by the Internet Appeal for North Korean Flood Victims under the name of North Korean Flood Appeal. Within days after the account was opened the bank notified the account holders that Treasury had blocked it. The account was subsequently allowed to be closed and the funds withdrawn provided they would not be transferred to North Korea nor purchase commodities directly by the organization. In a letter posted on December 2 and signed by Steven I. Pinter, chief, licensing division of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which was in response to the Internet Appeal's renewed inquiry a month ago, Treasury ruled a bank account may now be opened and transactions are allowed if the activities utilizing such funds meet the U.S. Commerce Department's definition of "goods to meet basic human needs" and are purchased in third countries. In previous rulings the department took a stricter line, prohibiting many such accounts under the "Trading with the Enemy" act. "As the Internet Appeal's donations are confined to the purchase of rice, corn, drugs and medical supplies in third countries which are then shipped to North Korea and distributed by me or members of my family, these activities are in conformity with both the U.S. Treasury's and Commerce Department's regulations and should encourage more Americans to freely send their checks to the 'North Korean Flood Appeal' without any concern they may be violating U.S. regulations," Bernard Krisher, chairman of the Appeal noted. Krisher added: "This letter, reflecting a new, positive attitude by the Treasury Department, reconfirms my faith in the ultimate sense of fairness and justice which exists in the United States, as well as respect for the humanitarian spirit that transcends even sometime hardened, obstinate bureaucrats. Unfortunately you will find such a spirit in few places in the world." Krisher is issuing a renewed appeal this week on the organization's Home Page (www.northkorea.org) for donations to purchase emergency food, drugs and medical equipment which he aims to distribute in North Korea after the New Year.