USA blacklists small Chinese bank over North Korea dealings, announces new sanctions

Posted June 30, 2017

China has yet to apply the kind of serious pressure on North Korea that might prompt the rogue regime to tamp down its nuclear and ballistic missile activity - and he is looking to chart the next phase of the U.S.' efforts to put a stop to those North Korean programs.

Treasury's actions reflect growing USA frustration over China's efforts to enforce worldwide sanctions meant to starve North Korea of revenue for its nuclear and missile programs.

"Treasurys Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has found the Bank of Dandong to be a foreign financial institution of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act", he said.

Munchin calls it a "very significant" step.

"What we have to do is prepare all options because the President has made clear to us that he will not accept a nuclear power in North Korea and a threat that can target the United States and target the American population", McMaster said.

Washington's UN Ambassador Nikki Haley recently fielded questions from members of the US House foreign relations committee on the effectiveness of US efforts to influence Haley's UN counterparts on a North Korea strategy.

It means the bank will now be prevented from having accounts or doing business with U.S. financial institutions.

Anthony Ruggiero a former senior Treasury official in the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, said the action against Bank of Dandong is the first time USA authorities sought to punish a Chinese bank accused of helping North Korea.

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Washington has repeatedly urged China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea in response to North Korea's ongoing efforts to build missiles and its violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The two Chinese nationals are Wei Sun, who is being sanctioned for links to the Foreign Trade Bank of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Hong Ri Li, for his links to North Korean banking executive Song-hyok Ri.

The Treasury also announced that USA 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. We are in no way targeting China with these actions.

The Trump administration is coming under pressure from lawmakers to find ways to rein in North Korea. At least I know China tried!' Trump tweeted on June 20.

The sanctions will cut off the bank and individuals associated with it from the American financial system.

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.

Speaking alongside Moon in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that the US and South Korea "shared concerns" about North Korea. Mnuchin, however, stressed at the press briefing that the sanctions were not directed at China. It cited a United Nations expert panel as saying the company has violated a ban on trade in luxury goods with the North.