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WASHINGTON – The Obama administration's push to settle a tense nuclear standoff with North Korea is being spearheaded not by soldiers on a battlefield or big-name diplomats but by government officials knocking on the doors of banks throughout Asia. The Democratic White House's effort borrows a page from former President George W. Bush's Republican playbook: Pyongyang unwilling to bend? Negotiating partners wary of tougher sanctions? Then bypass messy international diplomacy and hit the North where it hurts: its foreign bank accounts. American officials are traveling around Asia, targeting private banks that might have North Korean ties. They hope to block money that could be used for missiles and nuclear bombs and, ultimately, to drive North Korea back to stalled disarmament talks. The strategy is simple, according to interviews with past and current U.S. officials responsible for implementing it. And, they say, it works, which has not been the case with tortuous nuclear negotiations with the North.