Mnuchin Announces Sanctions on Chinese Bank Over North Korea

by Antonio Miles June 30, 2017, 0:35
Mnuchin Announces Sanctions on Chinese Bank Over North Korea

The Treasury Department calls the Bank of Dandong a "primary money-laundering concern" and is proposing severing the bank from the US financial system, pending a 60-day review period. He said that "nobody is off limits" when it comes to giving illegal financial assistance to North Korea.

The officials said Mr Trump is looking at options including tariffs on steel imports, which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said he is considering as part of a national security study of the U.S. steel industry.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this this is a "very significant" action as it cuts off "millions of dollars" from North Korean leadership.

Mnuchin said the USA 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. Anxieties about North Korea's nuclear capabilities have escalated amid recent missile tests.

Another Chinese citizen, Li Hong Ri, is being sanctioned for cooperating with a Beijing-based official who had already been sanctioned for procuring items and conducting financial transactions on North Korea's behalf.

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"After six months of a policy review and reinventing the wheel, they've basically arrived at exactly the point the Obama administration left off", said Ely Ratner, a senior fellow in China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations who served as Vice President Joe Biden's deputy national security adviser.

Dandong "acts as a conduit for North Korea to access the United States and global financial systems, including by facilitating millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea's WMD and ballistic missile programs", Treasury said.

In March also, the Trump administration had slapped sanctions against several Chinese businesses and individuals.

"While todays actions are directed at Chinese individuals and entities, we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Government of China to stop illicit financing involving North Korea".

"The question for me all along was, 'When is Trump going to realize that Xi Jinping is not going to deliver for him and when he realizes that, what is his response going to be?' The former has happened and now we're awaiting to see - does this mean he pulls off the gloves?" President Donald Trump has been leaning on China to use its influence as North Korea's main trading partner but has expressed some frustration recently with a lack of progress.

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