With eye on China, Trump may up pressure on North Korea

by Garry Watts June 30, 2017, 0:18
With eye on China, Trump may up pressure on North Korea

The Trump administration has blacklisted a small Chinese bank accused of illicit dealings with North Korea, escalating pressure to get Beijing to rein in its wayward ally, and it announced new sanctions targeting two Chinese citizens and one Chinese company.

The Treasury Department declared the Bank of Dandong a 'primary money-laundering concern, ' proposing to sever it entirely from the USA financial system following a 60-day review period.

The sanctions also target the Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co Limited of Dalian, China, according to a statement released by the Treasury.

President Trump recently said in a tweet that Chinese efforts to counter North Korean aggression haven't worked.

Mnuchin said the US would continue to look at other penalties that can be imposed on North Korea and that the topic will be on the agenda when Trump meets with other leaders of major economic powers at the Group of 20 summit next week in Germany.

Mnuchin said cutting off the flow of money was "very effective" in bringing Iran to the negotiating table and the U.S.is seeking to do the same with North Korea.

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Dandong "acts as a conduit for North Korea to access the United States and worldwide financial systems, including by facilitating millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea's WMD and ballistic missile programs", Treasury said.

The United States will also impose sanctions on two Chinese individuals and a Chinese shipping company that are believed to have assisted North Korea with its nuclear and missile programs. "I think what you'll see in the coming days and weeks are efforts to do that", Trump's national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Wednesday in public remarks at a national security conference, noting that "the threat is much more immediate now".

While the individuals and institution designated in Thursday's actions are Chinese, Mnuchin emphasized that the sanctions were meant to target North Korea, not Beijing.

Sun Wei is suspected of directing a screen company for the account of the bank in north Korean Foreign Trade Bank, the main settlement currency in the country.

'This is a strong message to Chinese leaders that the Trump administration will act against North Korea's sanctions evasion in China, ' he said. It cited a United Nations expert panel as saying the company has violated a ban on trade in luxury goods with the North.

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