Feds Sanction Chinese Bank Linked To North Korea

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

The bank has served as "a conduit for North Korea to access US and global financial systems", helping facilitate transactions for companies involved in the country's weapons programs, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

"We are in no way targetting China with these actions", Mnuchin said at a White House briefing on Thursday.

"While we will continue to seek worldwide cooperation on North Korea, the United States is sending an emphatic message across the globe that we will not hesitate to take action against persons, companies, and financial institutions who enable this regime", Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

Munchin calls it a "very significant" step.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the USA still wants to work with Beijing on combating the North Korean threat.

Bank of Dandong which "acts as a conduit for illicit North Korean financial activity, is a foreign bank of primary money laundering concern", and will be severed from the USA financial system, the Treasury said in a statement. The US's use of so-called "secondary" sanctions, which target firms and people doing business with North Korea rather than just North Korean firms and people themselves, is likely to make China's leaders pause and reconsider their usual tactic of dragging their feet on pressuring North Korea.

The Treasury also announced that US citizens will be generally prohibited from doing business with two Chinese citizens - Sun Wei and Ri Song Hyok, who are accused of establishing and running front companies on behalf of North Korea - and Dalian Global Unity Shipping, which is accused of transporting 700,000 tons of freight annually, including coal and steel products, between China and North Korea. This action freezes the entire bank out of the United States financial system.


The Trump administration is coming under pressure from lawmakers to find ways to rein in North Korea.

"If Trump wants to get serious about applying greater pressure on North Korea, at this point that will require a more coercive attitude toward China", Ratner said. At least I know China tried!

"The designation will make reputable Western banks ask questions about larger financial institutions in China", said Ruggiero, now a senior fellow at the non-profit Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

China, which borders North Korea and is considered its only major ally, argues that negotiations are the best way to persuade it to halt its nuclear and missile activities. It named the two individuals as Sun Wei and Li Hong Ri.

Speaking alongside Moon in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that the United States and South Korea "shared concerns" about North Korea.

'This is not directed at China, ' he said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping must be judicious as he chooses how to respond to Trump's actions. 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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