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US Treasury sanctions Chinese bank for illegal N.Korea activity

US Treasury sanctions Chinese bank for illegal N.Korea activity

"The Department of the Treasury is committed to protecting the US financial system from North Korean abuse and maximizing pressure on the government of North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs", Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said. Among them: severing USA financial ties with China's Bank of Dandong, which the administration claims acts as a pipeline to support alleged illicit North Korean financial activity.

"I wish we would have a little more help with respect to North Korea from China, but that doesn't seem to be working out", Trump said last week after tweeting that the Chinese campaign to pressure North Korea - however limited - "has not worked out".

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.

The Treasury Department said it's taking new steps to increase economic pressure on North Korea.

The Treasury Department says that the Bank of Dandong is a "primary money-laundering concern". Treasury's actions reflect growing USA frustration over China's efforts to enforce global sanctions meant to starve North Korea of revenue for its nuclear and missile programs.

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'We are in no way targeting China with these actions, ' Mnuchin told a White House news briefing.

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.

He says the U.S.is committed to cutting off all illegal funds to North Korea, which conducts 90 percent of its foreign trade through China. Anxieties about North Korea's nuclear capabilities have escalated amid recent missile tests. Another individual, Li Hong Laughed, has been made to the index to have established several shell companies that cooperate with the representatives in Beijing of the bank of north-Korean Koryo Bank, already sanctioned by the u.s. Treasury.

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".

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. 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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