U.S. back­lists China bank to lean on North Korea

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY MATTHEW PENNINGTON

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion black­listed a small Chi­nese bank ac­cused of il­licit deal­ings with North Korea on Thurs­day, es­ca­lat­ing the pres­sure on Beijing to rein in its wayward ally amid in­creased signs of frus­tra­tion among Pres­i­dent Trump and his top ad­vis­ers with China’s diplo­matic ef­forts.

The move came just hours be­fore Mr. Trump hosted new South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in, whose pol­icy of out­reach to the North has al­ready bumped up against the harder new U.S. line against Py­ongyang, for a din­ner and talks at the White House. It was the first face-to-face meet­ing be­tween the two lead­ers.

The Trea­sury Depart­ment de­clared the Bank of Dan­dong a “pri­mary mon­ey­laun­der­ing con­cern,” propos­ing to sever it en­tirely from the U.S. fi­nan­cial sys­tem, pend­ing a 60-day re­view pe­riod. Al­though Mr. Trump’s trea­sury sec­re­tary said the move didn’t tar­get China, it comes a week af­ter the pres­i­dent lamented that Beijing’s prom­ise to help with North Korea “has not worked out.”

Mr. Trump had been lean­ing on Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping to help stop the North’s devel­op­ment of nu­clear weapons be­fore they can threaten the U.S. home­land. A main fo­cus of the co­or­di­na­tion has been get­ting China to fully en­force in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions in­tended to starve North Korea of rev­enue for its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams. The U.S. ac­tion is likely to anger China, which han­dles about 90 per­cent of North Korea’s ex­ter­nal trade, and whose banks and com­pa­nies are said to pro­vide Py­ongyang ac­cess to the U.S.-dom­i­nated in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

The sanc­tions bar Amer­i­cans from do­ing busi­ness with Bank of Dan­dong, which is based in a north­east­ern Chi­nese city on the North Korean border that serves as a gate­way for trade with the iso­lated na­tion. The U.S. also slapped sanc­tions Thurs­day on a Chi­nese ship­ping com­pany and two Chi­nese peo­ple that it said have fa­cil­i­tated il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties by North Korea.

Greet­ing Mr. Moon at the White House on Thurs­day, Mr. Trump con­grat­u­lated the South Korean leader on his re­cent elec­toral vic­tory and said the two would have “tremen­dous dis­cus­sions” about deal­ing with the dan­ger­ous regime in North Korea.

“I know you’ve been dis­cussing with our peo­ple some of the com­plex­i­ties of North Korea and trade and other things, and we’ll be dis­cussing them all as we progress — and it could be very well late into the even­ing,” said Mr. Trump.

Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin said the U.S. still wants to work with Beijing on com­bat­ing the North Korean threat.

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

The puni­tive steps were pre­saged by a tweet from Mr. Trump last week re­flect­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with Beijing’s ef­forts.

“While I greatly ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts of Pres­i­dent Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” Mr. Trump tweeted on June 20.

The move met with bi­lat­eral sup­port on Capi­tol Hill, with both House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee Chair­man Ed Royce, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, and Se­nate Demo­cratic leader Charles E. Schumer of New York prais­ing the move.

“Th­ese sanc­tions are a small, but pos­i­tive step, and should be the be­gin­ning of a tougher pos­ture when it comes to China and its treat­ment of North Korea,” Mr. Schumer said in a state­ment. “The best way to get China to help us deal with North Korea is not to of­fer them sweet­en­ers, but to be tough. Play­ing eco­nomic hard­ball will help Amer­i­cans work­ers, and strengthen us in the re­gion at the same time.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.