New sanctions from the United States against a Chinese bank prove just how deeply in bed some Chinese companies are with the North Koreans.
According to Politico, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that China’s Bank of Dandong had been blacklisted for being a “foreign financial institution of primary money laundering concern.”
“This bank has served as a gateway for North Korea to access the U.S. and international financial systems, facilitating millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Mnuchin said.
“The United States will not stand for such action. This will require U.S. banks to ensure that the Bank of Dandong does not access the U.S. financial system directly or indirectly through other foreign banks.”
In addition to targeting the Bank of Dandong, the Treasury Department also sanctioned another company — Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co. Ltd — and two Chinese individuals for their dealings with the North Koreans.
According to Reuters, Wei Sun was sanctioned for his connections to the Foreign Trade Bank of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Hong Ri Li for links to Song Hyok Ri, a North Korean banking executive.
“While today’s actions are directed at Chinese individuals and entities, we look forward to working closely with the government of China to stop illicit financing involving North Korea. We are in no way targeting China with these actions,” Mnuchin said.
However, this past Wednesday, a White House official said that China was “falling far short of what it could bring to bear on North Korea in terms of pressure,” according to The New York Times.
Whether or not Mnuchin’s claim that the sanctions weren’t targeting China itself was just for public consumption, it’s clear that the Trump administration is looking to put pressure on North Korea in any way possible, and that includes putting pressure on their biggest partner.
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