Trump sanctions Chinese bank in bid to rein in North Korea

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is pressing ahead with a nuclear missile program despite repeated warnings from the United Nations
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is pressing ahead with a nuclear missile program despite repeated warnings from the United Nations
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30 June, 2017

In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pledged US commitment to maximize pressure on North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile program.

The department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is moving to sever the bank from the American financial system, which would severely limit its ability to work with any other banks around the world.

It is proposing severing the bank from the USA financial system, pending a 60-day review period.

The US has pressed China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to help rein in its nuclear and missile programmes.

Treasury also slapped sanctions on two Chinese individuals and one Chinese company.

For months, former USA officials and experts warned that President Donald Trump's plan to rely on China to pressure North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons was futile.

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.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at a press conference that the actions were created to cut off funds that North Korea uses to build its weapons program.

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

He wrote: "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out".

The announcement comes just a week before President Donald Trump is due to meet with his Chinese counterpart at the Group of 20 leaders summit next week in Germany.

According to a press release from the Treasury, these initiatives "have been taken in response to the circumvention ongoing global sanctions by North Korea, as well as the development of weapons of mass destruction".

Dalian Global Unity is reported to transport 700,000 tons of freight annually, including coal and steel products, between China and North Korea, Treasury said.

Mnuchin said the Bank of Dandong has facilitated millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. But he could also choose to act like he's willing to become a strict enforcer but not follow through on it, something China does with banned goods going into North Korea all the time.

-Chinese national Sun Wei, said to have been running a cover company for North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank, which is already subject to USA sanctions.

The Treasury Department has designated two individuals, Sun Wei and Li Hong Ri, for establishing and running front companies for North Korean banks.


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