Trump sanctions Chinese bank in bid to rein in North Korea


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Trump increases economic pressure to rein in North Korea – Jun. 29, 2017

Trump and China: What's at stake?

The Trump administration is increasing pressure on Chinese financial players amid growing tension with North Korea.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department announced a series of sanctions and measures it plans to take. Among them: severing U.S. financial ties with China’s Bank of Dandong, which the administration claims acts as a pipeline to support alleged illicit North Korean financial activity.

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

The moves come in response to North Korea’s ongoing efforts to build missiles and its violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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

“We are in no way targeting China with these actions,” Mnuchin said at a White House briefing Thursday. “We are committed to targeting north Korea’s external enablers and maximizing pressure on the North Korean regime.”

Mnuchin said the United States hopes China will “continue to work with us” to pressure North Korea.

The Bank of Dandong will no longer be able to access the U.S. financial system “either directly or indirectly” and called the action “very significant,” Mnuchin said.

“We are committed to targeting North Korea’s external enabler in maximizing economic pressure on the regime until it ceases its nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” he added.

Related: Trump weighs stepping up pressure on North Korea

Washington has repeatedly urged China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea. But Beijing has repeatedly said it’s influence is limited and that it is doing all it can.

The Trump administration in March slapped sanctions against several Chinese businesses and individuals.

President Trump has publicly shown signs of frustrations with the current approach.

“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 Chinese efforts to pressure North Korea “has not worked out.”

Experts who have closely watched the new administration’s work to encourage China to apply heavier pressure on North Korea have long predicted Trump and his advisers would eventually hit a wall — just as past administrations have in similar efforts to elicit stronger cooperation from the Chinese on the North Korean nuclear issue.

— CNN’s Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.

CNNMoney (Washington) First published June 29, 2017: 2:11 PM ET


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